We have isolated the 5'flanking regions of two human Alpha class glutathione S-transferase genes, GSTA1 and GSTA2. The two genes share 95% sequence identity between nucleotide positions -1,300 and +500 from the transcriptional start site. Various DNA fragments from the 5' flanking region of the GSTA1 gene were fused to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene and transfected into HepG2 cells. The results indicated that negative regulatory and enhancer elements are located in the sequence upstream of the GSTA1 gene. Sequence analysis and functional assays have not found any evidence for xenobiotic- or antioxidant-responsive elements previously described in rodent Alpha class genes. Thus the transcriptional regulation of the human Alpha class glutathione S-transferase genes may be dramatically different from the regulation of Alpha class glutathione S-transferase genes in rodents.