The transcriptional induction of SPRR1B by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) is mainly mediated by the first -152-base pair 5'-flanking region containing two functional AP-1 sites. In this study, we have analyzed the signaling pathways that mediate the induction in tracheobronchial epithelial cells. PKC inhibitor ablated PMA-stimulated expression of endogenous SPRR1B and reporter gene expression driven by SPRR1B promoter. PKC activator promoted the transcription. The dominant negative protein kinase Cδ (dn-PKCδ) and rottlerin (PKCδ inhibitor) completely suppressed PMA-stimulated promoter activity. dn-Ras or dn-MEKK1 inhibited PMA-stimulated promoter activity, while their corresponding constitutively active mutants augmented it. dn-c-Raf-1 did not have any effect on reporter gene expression. Since MEKK1 activates multiple parallel pathways, we examined involvement of JNK/SAPK, p38, and MKK1 in promoter regulation. Co-expression of the dominant negative forms of MKK4, MKK7, JNK/SAPK, MKK3, MKK6, or p38α did not suppress PMA-stimulated reporter gene expression. However, MKK1 inhibitors UO126 and PD98095 suppressed gene expression. Consistent with this, expression of dn-MKK1 strongly suppressed PMA-stimulated promoter activity, while the constitutively active MKK1 augmented it. However, MKK1-mediated induction of SPRR1B probably does not depend on extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2, suggesting the requirement of another kinase(s). dn-c-Jun mutants abolished PMA-stimulated expression supporting an important role for AP-1 proteins in SPRR1B expression. Together, these results suggest that a PKCδ/Ras/MEKK1/MKK1-dependent/AP-1 pathway regulates the PMA-inducible expression of the SPRR1B in tracheobronchial epithelial cells.