Calcyclin (S100A6) is a calcium-binding protein overexpressed in several tumor cell lines including melanoma with high metastatic activity. The calcyclin gene promoter fragment -361/-167 activates transcription several fold when compared to the basal -167/+134 promoter fragment indicating the presence of enhancer element within -361/-167 bp region. By means of the electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) we found that this region contains a protein-binding site and mapped it to an E-box sequence at position -283/-278. Using antibodies against USF1 we identified the upstream stimulatory factor as the transcription factor bound to the E-box sequence in EMSA. This factor was also enriched in protein fractions obtained from Ehrlich ascites tumor cells nuclear extract by affinity chromatography using the E-box sequence as a ligand. Cotransfection of the USF1 expression vector with a plasmid carrying the luciferase gene under control of the -361/+134 calcyclin gene promoter fragment resulted in several fold activation of luciferase activity. On the other hand, mutations within the E-box led to a marked decrease in the efficiency of calcyclin gene promoter fragment. The results indicate that USF1 binds to an E-box sequence of the calcyclin gene promoter and enhances its transcription activity. This mechanism might be responsible for the upregulation of calcyclin gene expression in response to various stimuli and in tumors.