Transcription factors play an essential role in determining the fate of a cell by affecting the expression of target genes involved in proliferation, in differentiation and in programmed cell death. Under certain conditions, some of these factors are capable of deregulating expression of genes involved in the cell cycle and/or in programmed cell death resulting in uncontrolled proliferation of the cell. The focus of this review is on the transcriptional regulation of the bcl-x gene encoding the anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL protein. Since 1999, several papers have implicated members of the Ets, Rel/NFkappaB, STAT and AP-1 families as transcription factors regulating bcl-x expression. A specific emphasis of these different transcription factor families on bcl-x regulation in hematopoietic cells is discussed.