We demonstrated that MIF-1, identified initially as a binding activity that associated with the intron I element of the c-myc gene, consists of two polypeptides, the myc intron-binding peptide (MIBP1) and the major histocompatibility class II promoter-binding protein, RFX1. Using a polyclonal antiserum directed against either oligonucleotide affinity-purified MIBP1 or a peptide derived from RFX1, we showed that MIBP1 and RFX1 are distinct molecules that associate in vivo and are both present in DNA-protein complexes at the c-myc (MIF-1) and major histocompatibility complex class II (RFX1) binding sites. We have also found that MIBP1 and RFX1 bind to a regulatory site (termed EP) required for enhancer activity of hepatitis B virus. In addition, we have identified MIF-1-like sequences within regulatory regions of several other viral genes and have shown that MIBP1 binds to these sites in cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and polyomavirus. We have also demonstrated that the MIF-1 and EP elements can function as silencers in the hepatocarcinoma HepG2 and the cervical carcinoma HeLa cell lines. These findings indicate that MIBP1 and EP/RFX1 can associate in vivo and may regulate the expression of several distinct cellular and viral genes.