Mutants in the leucine zipper and basic regions of mouse c-jun were tested for transformation in chicken embryo fibroblast cultures. Reduction or elimination of the ability of Jun to dimerize or to bind to DNA severely decreased transformation. A chicken v-jun gene from which the major transactivation domain was deleted also failed to transform. We conclude that an intact leucine zipper, basic region and transactivation domain are required for Jun-induced oncogenic transformation. Coexpression of chicken c-Fos increased formation of transformed foci by Jun proteins of moderate to low oncogenic potency but had no effect on highly transforming Jun. Chicken c-Fos could also transform chicken embryo fibroblasts on its own, albeit after prolonged culture and at a low efficiency.