Reflecting the prime role of 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 in calcium homeostasis, the activity of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 1alpha-hydroxylase, a key enzyme for 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 biosynthesis, is tightly regulated by 1alpha,25(OH)2D3, PTH and calcitonin. Its significant activity is found in kidney, though the enzymatic activity is also reported in extra-renal tissues. In the present study, we found that the 1alpha-hydroxylase gene abundantly expresses in kidney, and at low levels in other tissues and in some cell lines. Positive and negative regulations of 1alpha-hydroxylase gene by PTH, calcitonin, or 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 were observed at transcriptional levels in kidneys of animals and in a mouse proximal tubule cell line. Moreover, the protein kinase A inhibitor abrogated the PTH-mediated positive regulation. In mice lacking the vitamin D receptor, the 1alpha-hydroxylase gene expression was overinduced, and the inducible effect of either PTH or calcitonin, but not the repression by 1alpha,25(OH)2D3, was evident. Thus, vitamin D receptor is essential for the negative regulation by 1alpha,25(OH)2D3. Moreover, we demonstrate that renal 1alpha-hydroxylase gene expression in chronic renal failure model rats was decreased and the positive effect by PTH and calcitonin was diminished. The present study demonstrates that PTH and calcitonin positively regulate renal 1alpha-hydroxylase gene expression via PKA-dependent and independent pathway, respectively, and that 1alpha,25(OH)2D3 negatively regulates it mediated by vitamin D receptor. Furthermore, in a moderate state of chronic renal failure, renal cells expressing the 1alpha-hydroxylase gene appear to have diminished potential in response to PTH and calcitonin.