Environmental carcinogen benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) has been shown to be a genotoxicant that affects both nuclear DNA (nDNA) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF-1) is a transcriptional activator of nuclear genes that encode a range of mitochondrial proteins including mitochondrial transcription factor A (mtTFA). However, the role of NRF-1 in BaP-induced mitochondrial event is not clear. We investigated the change of NRF-1 and mtTFA in human bronchial epithelial cells (16HBE) elicited by BaP. The results indicated that BaP induced cell apoptosis, total mitochondrial enzymes activities and ATP levels decrease in dose- and time-dependent manners, respectively. The transcription and protein levels of NRF-1 and mtTFA decreased at 48 h after 16 μM BaP treatment. Our results indicated downregulation of NRF-1 and mtTFA is involved in BaP-induced mitochondrial events. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 29: 780–787, 2014.