γ-Glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) plays key roles in glutathione homeostasis and metabolism of glutathione S-conjugates. Rat GGT is transcribed via five tandemly arranged promoters into seven transcripts. The transcription of mRNA V is controlled by promoter 5. Previously we found that GGT mRNA V-2 was responsible for the induction of GGT in rat alveolar epithelial cells by 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE). In the current study, the underlying mechanism was investigated. Reporter deletion and mutation analysis demonstrated that an electrophile-response element (EpRE) in the proximal region of GGT promoter 5 (GP5) was responsible for the basal- and HNE-induced promoter activity. Gel-shift assays showed an increased binding activity of GP5 EpRE after HNE exposure. The nuclear content of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) was significantly increased by HNE. The recruitment of Nrf2 to GP5 EpRE after HNE treatment was demonstrated by supershift and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. The tissue expression pattern of GGT mRNA V was previously unknown. Using polymerase chain reaction, we found that GGT mRNA V-2 was expressed in many tissues in rat. Taken together, GGT mRNA V-2 is widely expressed in rat tissues and its basal and HNE-induced expression is mediated through EpRE/Nrf2 signaling. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.