Collagenase-1 (matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1)) degrades the extracellular matrix and enhances the invasive phenotype of tumor cells. v-src activated MMP-1 transcription through a series of elements in the proximal promoter, including the E2BP (nt -172), polyoma virus enhancer A3 (PEA3) (nt -94), activator protein-1 (AP-1) (nt -72), and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) (nt -57) consensus sites. Of these sites, PEA3 and STAT contributed specifically to induction by v-src, whereas the remaining elements were also involved in induction by the phorbol ester phorbol myristate acetate (PMA). However, in contrast to MMP-1 induction by PMA, an AP-1 site located at nt -186 did not contribute to v-src induction. These results suggest divergence of the tyrosine kinase- and protein kinase C-dependent pathways with respect to MMP-1 transcription. v-src induced MMP-1 through mitogen-activated protein kinases, with extracellular signal-regulated kinases playing a larger role than c-jun N-terminal kinase. Retinoic acid, which inhibits the progression of certain cancers, repressed v-src-induced MMP-1 transcription. Constitutive expression of retinoic acid receptors (RARs) alpha or beta, but not gamma, or of retinoid X receptor alpha, repressed v-src-induced collagenase-1 transcription. We concluded that oncogenic induction of MMP-1 by v-src depends on signaling pathways and cis-acting sequences that are distinct from those involved in phorbol ester activation. Furthermore, v-src induction of MMP-1 may, by acting in concert with other genes, enhance matrix degradation and tumor progression, and retinoic acid and RARs may antagonize this induction in an RAR type-specific manner.