The complement regulatory protein decay-accelerating factor (DAF or CD55) protects host tissue from complement-mediated injury by inhibiting the classical and alternative complement pathways. Besides its role in complement regulation, DAF has also been shown to be a key player in T cell immunity. Modulation of DAF expression could therefore represent a critical regulatory mechanism in both innate and adaptive immune responses. To identify and characterize key transcriptional regulatory elements controlling mouse Daf1 expression, a 2.5-kb fragment corresponding to the 5' flanking region of the mouse Daf1 gene was cloned. Sequence analysis showed that the mouse Daf1 promoter lacks conventional TATA and CCAAT boxes and displays a high guanine and cytosine content. RACE was used to identify one major and two minor transcription start sites 47, 20, and 17 bp upstream of the translational codon. Positive and negative regulatory regions were identified by transiently transfecting sequential 5'deletion constructs of the 5'flanking region into NIH/3T3, M12.4, and RAW264.7 cells. Mutational analyses of the promoter region combined with Sp1-specific ELISA showed that the transcription factor Sp1 is required for basal transcription and LPS-induced expression of the Daf1 gene. These findings provide new information on the regulation of the mouse Daf1 promoter and will facilitate further studies on the expression of Daf1 during immune responses.