The causative gene of Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy (fukutin) is involved in formation of the basement membrane through glycosylation of alpha-dystroglycan. However, there are other proposed functions that have not been fully understood. Using cultured astrocytes (1321N1), we found nuclear localization of fukutin and a positive relationship between fukutin expression and cell proliferation. Among potential proteins regulating cell proliferation, we focused on cyclin D1, by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, Western blotting, immunocytochemistry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and sandwich ELISA. Expression of cyclin D1 was significantly downregulated by fukutin knockdown and significantly upregulated by fukutin overexpression. Moreover, fukutin was proven to bind to the activator protein-1 (AP-1) binding site of cyclin D1 promoter, as well as the AP-1 component c-Jun. The c-Jun phosphorylation status was not significantly influenced by knockdown or overexpression of fukutin. The present results provide in vitro evidence for a novel function of fukutin, which participates in cell proliferation by enhancing cyclin D1 expression through forming a complex with AP-1. It is likely that fukutin is a potential cofactor of AP-1.