The three members of the Brn-3 subfamily of POU transcription factors have distinct effects on target gene expression. We show that the promoter of the gene encoding the presynaptic nerve terminal protein SNAP-25 resembles previously characterised target genes in being activated by Brn-3a and Brn-3c, but being repressed by Brn-3b. Unlike other target genes, however, the SNAP-25 promoter can be activated by either the N- or C-terminal activation domains of Brn-3a. In contrast to the SNAP-25 gene, the gene encoding the synaptic vesicle protein synapsin 1 is activated by all the Brn-3 factors, the first gene for which this activation pattern has been reported Interestingly, however, similar activation by all three Brn-3 factors can be observed if the SNAP-25 promoter is truncated by removal of sequences from -2200 to -288 relative to the transcriptional start site. Moreover, a region of the SNAP-25 promoter from -283 to -126 can render a heterologous promoter responsive to activation by all three Brn-3 factors. Differences in promoter structure may thus result in differences in the response to different Brn-3 factors, thus allowing these factors to produce diverse activation patterns of neuronally expressed genes, such as those encoding different synaptic proteins.