CYP3 A4 is the adult-specific form of cytochrome P450 in human livers [Komori, M., Nishio, K., Kitada, M., Shiramatsu, K., Muroya, K., Soma, M., Nagashima, K. & Kamataki, T. (1990) Biochemistry 29, 4430-4433]. The sequences of three genomic clones for CYP3A4 were analyzed for all exons, exon-intron junctions and the 5'-flanking region from the major transcription site to nucleotide position -1105, and compared with those of the CYP3A7 gene, a fetal-specific form of cytochrome P450 in humans. The results showed that the identity of 5'-flanking sequences between CYP3A4 and CYP3A7 genes was 91%, and that each 5'-flanking region had characteristic sequences termed as NFSE (P450NF-specific element) and HFLaSE (P450HFLa specific element), respectively. A basic transcription element (BTE) also lay in the 5'-flanking region of the CYP3A4 gene as seen in many CYP genes [Yanagida, A., Sogawa, K., Yasumoto, K. & Fujii-Kuriyama, Y. (1990) Mol. Cell. Biol. 10, 1470-1475]. The BTE binding factor (BTEB) was present in both adult and fetal human livers. To examine the transcriptional activity of the CYP3A4 gene, DNA fragments in the 5'-flanking region of the gene were inserted in front of the simian virus 40 promoter and the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase structural gene, and the constructs were transfected in HepG2 cells. The analysis of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase activity indicated that (a) specific element(s) which could bind with a factor(s) in livers was present in the 5'-flanking region of the CYP3A4 gene to show the transcriptional activity.