The rat acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) a gene is transcribed from two promoters, denoted PI and PII, that direct regulated expression in a tissue-specific manner. Induction of ACC, the rate-controlling enzyme of fatty acid biosynthesis, occurs in the liver in response to feeding of a high carbohydrate, low fat diet, conditions that favor enhanced lipogenesis. This induction is mainly due to increases in PI promoter activity. We have used primary cultured hepatocytes from the rat to investigate glucose regulation of ACC expression. Glucose and insulin synergistically activated expression of ACC mRNAs transcribed from the PI promoter with little or no effect on PII mRNAs. Glucose treatment stimulated PI promoter activity in transfection assays and a glucose-regulated element was identified (-126/-102), homologous to those previously described in other responsive genes, including L-type pyruvate kinase, S14 and fatty acid synthase. Mutation of this element eliminated the response to glucose. This region of the ACC PI promoter was able to bind a liver nuclear factor designated ChoRF that interacts with other conserved glucose-regulated elements. This ACC PI element is also capable of conferring a strong response to glucose when linked to a heterologous promoter. We conclude that induction of ACC gene expression under lipogenic conditions in hepatocytes is mediated in part by the activation of a glucose-regulated transcription factor, ChoRF, which stimulates transcription from the PI promoter. Similar mechanisms operate on related genes permitting the coordinate induction of the lipogenic pathway.