Transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) can be achieved by small RNAs targeted to upstream promoter regions. Previously we characterized siRNAs targeted to the HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR) promoter at site 247, and found that a 21-base antisense strand of siRNA-247 (LTR-247as) suppressed LTR-mediated expression. To characterize the specificity of LTR-247as, vectors expressing antisense RNAs targeted to a region spanning 50 bases up- and downstream of the 247 target site were generated. LTR-247as+7, a approximately 22 base antisense RNA that is shifted by only seven bases upstream of LTR-247as, showed a significant increase in LTR-driven reporter gene expression that was independent of cell type and active chromatin methyl-marks. Promoter-targeting siRNAs have been recently shown to induce gene activation. However, here we demonstrate gene activation via a sequence-specific off-target effect. Microarray analysis of LTR-247as+7-treated cultures resulted in the deregulation of approximately 185 genes. A gene of unknown function, C10orf76, was responsive to inhibition by LTR-247as+7 and the loss of C10orf76 resulted in the upregulation of several genes that were activated by LTR-247as+7. These data suggest caution when using short antisense RNAs or siRNAs designed to target promoter sequences, since promoter-targeted RNAs may have unintended inhibitory effects against factors with suppressive gene activity.