In mammalian cells radiation induces the enhanced transcription of several genes. The cis acting elements in the control region of inducible genes have been delimited by site directed mutagenesis. Several different elements have been found in different genes. They do not only activate gene transcription in response to radiation but also in response to growth factors and to tumor promoter phorbol esters. The transcription factors binding to these elements are present also in non-irradiated cells, but their DNA binding activity and their transactivating capability is increased upon irradiation. The signal chain linking the primary radiation-induced signal (damaged DNA) to the activation of transcription factors involves the action of (a) protein kinase(s).