The present invention relates to an inducible and a high expression nucleic acid promoter isolated from Clostridium thermocellum. These promoters are useful for directing expression of a protein or polypeptide encoded by a nucleic acid molecule operably associated with the nucleic acid promoters. The present invention also relates to nucleic acid constructs including the C. thermocellum promoters, and expression vectors and hosts containing such nucleic acid constructs. The present invention also relates to protein isolated from Clostridium thermocellum, including a repressor protein. The present invention also provides methods of using the isolated promoters and proteins from Clostridium thermocellum, including methods for directing inducible in vitro and in vivo expression of a protein or polypeptide in a host, and methods of producing ethanol from a cellulosic biomass.