Epidermal growth factor induction of c-jun expression requires ATF1 and MEF2 sites in the c-jun promoter. We find that activation of the c-jun promoter through the ATF1 site requires phosphorylation of ATF1 at serine 63. A serine 63 to alanine mutation of ATF1 acts to block epidermal growth factor (EGF) induction of a transfected c-jun gene. ATF1 can be phosphorylated by mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase 1 (MSK1), which is activated by EGF and ERK1/2. Kinase-dead MSK1 mutants blocked EGF induction of a transfected c-jun gene suggesting that MSK1 or a similar family member is required for induced c-jun expression. Use of the MEK1 inhibitor U0126 and dominant negative MEK1 further showed that MSK1 activation and c-jun induction require the ERK pathway. In contrast, a JNK inhibitor blocked EGF induction of c-jun expression but not ATF1 phosphorylation. These results show that the two MAPK pathways, ERK and JNK, are required for EGF-induced c-jun expression and that the ERK pathway acts through downstream phosphorylation of ATF1.