Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax) is a proapoptotic protein and is suggested to have an important role in carcinogenesis. To investigate the mechanism of bax gene transcriptional regulation, we isolated and sequenced the genomic DNA fragment of the 5' flanking region of the murine bax gene, and subcloned its promoter region into a luciferase reporter construction. The murine bax promoter is TATA-less, and the sequence is only partially homologous to that of the human bax promoter. Transient transfection into NIH 3T3 cells using unidirectionally deleted promoters and mutants of Sp1 sites revealed that two Sp1 sites were partially responsible for the basal activity. The murine bax promoter was not responsive to exogenous p53, suggesting that the p53-responsive element may not exist in the region used in our current experiments.