Homologues of c-fos and c-jun from total DNA of Taenia crassiceps and Taenia solium were cloned and sequenced. The amino acid alignment analysis revealed that c-fos DNAs from T. crassiceps and T. solium were highly homologous (96%), and both have high homology compared to several mammalian c-fos proteins (93% to mouse, 96% to rat and 86% to human). The c-jun protein alignment showed higher homology (T. crassiceps and T. solium have 98%), when compared with mouse, rat and human, being 92%, 98% and 93% respectively. RT–PCR amplification of the parasite's total RNA, showed that T. crassiceps expressed both AP-1 complex genes, while T. solium only expressed c-fos. Southern blot hybridization analysis confirmed the true origin of each amplified gene. AP-1 transcription gene expression is regulated by oestradiol in the same fashion as their mammalian counterparts only in T. crassiceps. To study if AP-1 genes are involved in a physiological function of the cyst, reproduction was studied in vitro. Oestradiol treatment stimulated reproduction in T. crassiceps but not in T. solium cysticerci. This is the first report of the detection and functionality of AP-1 transcription factor genes in any species of helminth parasite.