Abstract Varicella-zoster virus glycoprotein E (ORF 68) belongs to the group of late genes. It is a major component of the virion envelope and can be found complexed with glycoprotein I on the infected host cell surface. Glycoprotein E (gE) expression is activated by IE4 and IE62. Also, cellular transcription factors, like Sp1, are able to influence the gE expression. Performing quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, we found no decrease in Sp1 mRNA levels at different times post-infection, indicating that Sp1 mRNA evade virion host shutoff effects. In addition, the Sp1 protein was detectable in highly infected cells. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays have shown a binding of Sp1 to both GC elements within the gE-5′untranslated region (5′UTR). Additional shift assays have notified a binding of TATA box binding protein to the TATA box of the gE promoter, which is characterized by an untypical TATACA motif. Promoter–reporter constructs have been made using mutated variants of the gE-5′UTR as promoters. In transfection studies, we found that the TATA deletion, as well as inactivations of both GC boxes, reduced the basal activity of the promoter. A complete loss of activity did not become measurable until eliminating both GC elements and the TATA box, indicating that these cis-elements substitute for each other in initiation of transcription of the gE-5′UTR.