Expression of the two proto-oncogenes, c- myc and c- fos, in proliferating liver, and the modulation of their expression by 2-mercaptopropionylglycine (MPG) has been investigated. A significant increase in the expression of both c- myc and c- fos was observed, attaining a peak at 30min, followed by a gradual decline for 8h after partial hepatectomy. Treatment of partially hepatectomized animals with MPG resulted in a significant decrease in the expression of both genes, the decrease being more marked in c- myc mRNA levels. At later time points, there was a very small rise in the mRNA levels of these genes in MPG-treated animals but they still remained much lower than the peak levels observed in both genes 30min after surgery. A decline in the recovery of liver weight in MPG-treated animals was also observed.