Neurons contain a protein factor capable of binding DNA elements normally bound by the transcription factor NF-κB. However, several lines of evidence suggest that this neuronal κB-binding factor (NKBF) is not bona fide NF-κB. We have identified NKBF from cultures of neocortical neurons as a complex containing proteins related to Sp1. This complex was bound by antibodies to Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4 and was competed from binding to an NF-κB element by an oligonucleotide containing an Sp1- binding site. This Sp1 oligonucleotide detected an abundant factor in neuronal nuclei that migrated in electrophoretic mobility shift assays at a position consistent with NKBF. Expression of transfected Sp1 stimulated transcription in a manner dependent upon a κB ciselement. Similar to our previous reports for NKBF (Mao, X., Moerman, A. M., Lucas, M. M., and Barger, S. W. (1999) J. Neurochem. 73, 1851-1858 and Moerman, A. M., Mao, X., Lucas, M. M., and Barger, S. W. (1999) Mol. Brain Res. 67, 303-315), the activity of the Sp1-related factor was reduced by activation of ionotropic glutamate receptors, consistent with proteolytic degradation of all three Sp1-related factors. Expression of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-1 (NR1) subunit of glutamate receptors correlated with the activity of the Sp1-related factor, specifically through an Sp1 element in the NR1 promoter. These data provide the first evidence that Sp1 or related family members are responsible for κB-binding activity and are involved in a negative feedback for NR1 in central nervous system neurons.