Paxillin is a substrate of the Src tyrosine onco-kinase and is involved in cell transformation, cell spreading, migration, and cancer development mediated through the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling cascades. Here, we showed that paxillin plays a key role in skin cell transformation induced by epidermal growth factor (EGF) or 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). To investigate the mechanism of paxillin's role in cell transformation, we established a paxillin knockdown stably transfected cell line by introducing small interfering RNA-paxillin (si-paxillin). The si-paxillin cells displayed a dramatic suppression of cell proliferation and anchorage-independent cell transformation induced by EGF or TPA compared with si-mock control cells. In si-paxillin cells, decreased activator protein-1 (AP-1)-dependent luciferase activity corresponded with suppressed AP-1 DNA binding activity. Importantly, knockdown of paxillin inhibited EGF- or TPA-induced c-Jun phosphorylation at Ser63 and Ser73. Furthermore, total c-Jun protein level was dramatically decreased in si-paxillin cells and was dependent on serum deprivation time. The down-regulation of c-Jun was restored in si-paxillin cells by treatment with the proteasome inhibitor lactacystin but not by the lysosome inhibitor leupeptin. These results clearly provided evidence that paxillin regulates c-Jun protein level and plays a key role in cell transformation most likely through the regulation of c-Jun stability.