c-fos and c-myc gene activation, ionic signals, and DNA synthesis in thymocytes.
Moore JP., Todd JA., Hesketh TR., Metcalfe JC.
Among the earliest responses to mitogens that have been detected in normal quiescent cells are ionic changes: we have described rapid increases in the cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration ([Ca]i) and in the intracellular pH (pHi) in mitogen-stimulated thymocytes and fibroblasts (Hesketh, T. R., Moore, J. P., Morris, J. D. H., Taylor, M. V., Rogers, J., Smith, G. A., and Metcalfe, J. C. (1985) Nature 313, 482-484). Here we investigate the relationship between these ionic signals and the subsequent expression of the c-fos and c-myc proto-oncogenes in murine thymocytes. We show that the plant lectin concanavalin A (ConA), the phorbol ester 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol 13-acetate (TPA) and the Ca2+-ionophore A23187 each causes a rapid increase in both c-fos and c-myc mRNAs. The activation of both genes is completely dependent on the extracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca]o) for A23187 and independent of [Ca]o for TPA. Activation of c-myc, but not c-fos, by ConA is partially dependent on [Ca]o. The pHi increases generated by ConA or TPA are not necessary for expression of mRNA from either gene in response to these mitogens. Exogenous 8-bromo-cyclic AMP (but not 8-bromo-cyclic GMP) inhibits the c-myc responses to ConA and TPA. The data also show that neither early c-fos nor c-myc expression is sufficient to commit the cells to DNA synthesis.