Bradykinin and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) induce cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) in human airway smooth muscle cells. Here we extended our study to explore the gene transcriptional regulation. By transfection with various COX-2 promoter reporter constructs, we found that the bp -327-to-+59 promoter region was essential for COX-2 gene transcription by bradykinin and IL-1beta and that the cyclic AMP response element (CRE) was critical in bradykinin-induced transcription, whereas nuclear factor IL-6 and CRE and, to a lesser extent, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) were involved in IL-1beta-induced transcription. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay revealed that both bradykinin and IL-1beta elicited CRE-binding protein-1 (CREB-1) binding, and IL-1beta also elicited CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta and NF-kappaB binding to their respective elements in the COX-2 promoter. These transcription factors were associated with the COX-2 promoter, which was dynamically linked to different patterns of histone H4 acetylation by bradykinin and IL-1beta, as demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation. We also revealed that endogenous prostaglandin E(2) was critical in bradykinin-induced COX-2 transcription initiation and involved in IL-1beta-induced COX-2 transcription at a latter stage. Our result provide the first evidence that COX-2 transcriptional regulation by different stimuli involves different promoter elements and transcription factors and is associated with chromatin remodeling after selective histone H4 acetylation in a stimulus-specific manner.