We show that the expression of the gene encoding glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) gene is affected by at least three cis-acting elements. A positive regulatory element that is located between nucleotides -1,631 and -1,479 can confer cell type-specific expression on a heterologous gene. A second regulatory element is located between nucleotides -97 and -80. The third is a negative regulatory element that is located within the first intron of the gene. Deletion of this element activates GFAP expression in HeLa cells, and affects promoter function in glioma cells.