Abstract— In HeLa cells transcription of the c-jun gene is activated strongly and rapidly by ultraviolet (UV) irradiation and, to a somewhat lesser extent, by treatment with phorbol ester tumor promoters. In the same cells UV and phorbol esters only marginally enhance the abundance of RNA transcribed from the jun D gene and from the gene coding for the serum response factor (which in turn acts on the UV and phorbol ester response element of the c-fos gene). In contrast to c-jun, jun B transcription is induced more efficiently by phorbol ester than by UV irradiation, suggesting that the members of the jun family are differently regulated. The promoter of c-jun carries two enhancer elements resembling AP-1 binding sites: the junl UV response element (URE-71 TGACATCA-64) and the jun2 URE (-190 TTACCTCA-183). These elements act independently in the UV induced expression of c-jun. In the context of the complete c-jun promoter they seem not to be required for c-jun induction by phorbol esters. When fused to the Herpes simplex thymidine kinase promoter, however, the isolated elements mediate induction by both UV and phorbol esters. UV and phorbol ester treatment of cells increases the binding of transcription factors to both elements. Both elements bind factors different in modification or/and constitution from AP-1, the heterodimeric transcription factor composed of c-Fos and c-Jun that controls the activity of the UV and phorbol ester response element (-72 TGAGTCA-66) of the human collagenase gene.