Abstract: In order to define cell type-specific elements associated with the catecholamine biosynthetic enzyme, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), transient transfections of promoter deletion constructs were used to test relative reporter-gene activities in TH-expressing and-nonexpressing cell lines. Such assays demonstrated that a region between-503 and-578 contributed to rat TH promoter activity in the pheochromocytoma cell line PC12. Deletion of these sequences resulted in a 66% loss in cell type-specific activity. Mutations within the E box/dyad symmetry element (CAGGTGCCTGTGACAGTG) did not affect the basal and cell type-specific pattern of expression exhibited by the rat TH promoter. Promoter fusion constructs between the rat TH promoter (-741 and-197) and the human TH promoter (-197 and +1) exhibited reporter-gene activities equivalent to that of wild-type-741 rat TH constructs, further demonstrating that sequence elements upstream of the rat E box/dyad symmetry are important for cell type-specific expression. Gel-shift experiments indicated that a PC12 nuclear factor could bind to a 39-bp sequence within this region in a cell type-specific manner. The size of this factor was 52 kDa as determined by UV cross-linking experiments.