We have characterized the expression of c-Jun, JunB, JunD, c-Fos, and FosB proteins following serum stimulation of quiescent Swiss 3T3 cells by immunoprecipitation analyses. The synthesis of the three Jun proteins rapidly increases following stimulation, remaining at a significant level for at least 8 h. JunB protein presents the highest expression of all. FosB, like c-Fos, is transiently induced. Pulse-chase experiments show that all of the proteins except JunD are short-lived. We have shown that c-Fos and FosB form complexes in vivo with the different Jun proteins and that JunB complexes are predominant. In vitro association and competition experiments show that the affinities between the different Fos and Jun proteins are similar. This finding, together with the in vivo observations described above, suggests that the proportion of the different Jun/Fos heterodimers is governed by the concentration of the different components. The Fos and Jun proteins are phosphoproteins, and some remain relatively highly phosphorylated in their heterodimeric form.