Renin gene expression is subject to complex developmental and tissue-specific regulation. A comparison of the promoter sequences of the human, rat, and mouse renin genes has revealed a highly conserved sequence homologous to the DNA recognition sequence for CBF1 (CSL/RBP-Jkappa/Su(H)/LAG1/RBPSUH). Electrophoretic mobility shift assays document that As4.1 cell nuclear protein complex binding to the putative rat renin CBF1-binding site (-175 to -168 bp) contains CBF1. Transient transfection analyses in COS-7 cells further document that a CBF1-VP16 fusion protein and the intracellular domain of Notch1 robustly activate a promoter containing multiple copies of the rat renin CBF1-binding site. An Ets-binding site (-143 to -138 bp) has also been identified in the rat renin promoter by sequence comparisons and electrophoretic mobility shift assays. Transcription factor Ets-1 is capable of activating the rat renin promoter through the Ets-binding site. Mutation of the CBF-binding site significantly increases transcriptional activity of the rat renin promoter in Calu-6 and COS-7 cells but not in As4.1 cells, whereas mutation of the Ets-binding site reduces promoter activity of the rat renin gene in all three cell lines. Finally, we show that the intracellular domain of Notch1, Ets-1, and HOXD10.PBX1b.PREP1 activate the rat renin promoter cooperatively in COS-7 cells. These results strongly suggest that the renin gene is a downstream target of the Notch signaling pathway.