In a previous study, we identified the element which allows the maximum response to 1,25(OH)2D3 in concert with two vitamin D-responsive elements (VDREs) in the rat 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 24-hydroxylase gene promoter, and designated it an accessory element [Ohyama, Y., Ozono, K., Uchida, M., Yoshimura, M., Shinki, T., Suda, T. and Yamamoto, O. Functional assessment of two vitamin D-responsive elements in the rat 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 24-hydroxylase gene. J. Biol. Chem., 1996, 271, 30381-30385]. The accessory element located adjacent to the proximal VDRE is not capable of binding to the vitamin D receptor (VDR), while its nucleotide sequence resembles the consensus sequence of VDREs, direct repeat 3 (DR3). To clarify the difference between the accessory element and VDREs, the function of the accessory element was compared with that of VDREs. The mutated accessory elements with a single nucleotide substitution showed the capability of binding to the VDR in vitro. However, these mutants still did not act as a VDRE when driven by the heterologous SV40 promoter. The accessory element did not enhance the function of a cAMP-responsive element. The corresponding site of the accessory element in the human 24-hydroxylase is a DR4-type element, and this element did not function as an accessory element. These results indicate that a critical nucleotide sequence is necessary for the binding to the VDR and for mediating the vitamin D effect, and suggest the different regulation between the rat and human 24-hydroxylase gene.