The integral membrane-bound Nrf1 transcription factor fulfils important functions in maintaining cellular homeostasis and organ integrity, but how it is controlled vectorially is unknown. Herein, creative use of Gal4-based reporter assays with protease protection assays (GRAPPA), and double fluorescence protease protection (dFPP), reveals that the membrane-topogenic vectorial behaviour of Nrf1 dictates its post-translational modification and transactivation activity. Nrf1 is integrated within endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes through its NHB1-associated TM1 in cooperation with other semihydrophobic amphipathic regions. The transactivation domains (TADs) of Nrf1, including its Asn/Ser/Thr-rich (NST) glycodomain, are transiently translocated into the ER lumen, where it is glycosylated in the presence of glucose to become a 120-kDa isoform. Thereafter, the NST-adjoining TADs are partially repartitioned out of membranes into the cyto/nucleoplasmic side, where Nrf1 is subject to deglycosylation and/or proteolysis to generate 95-kDa and 85-kDa isoforms. Therefore, the vectorial process of Nrf1 controls its target gene expression.