The UAS (upstream activator sequence) of the yeast PGK gene contains a transcriptional activator domain located between bases -479 and -402 upstream from the initiating ATG. This region of the UAS contains three direct repeats of the sequence 5'CTTCC3'. The roles in transcriptional activation of these repeats and other sequences within the activator domain were investigated. When short regions containing the repeats were removed PGK expression was considerably reduced, the magnitude of the effect depended upon which CTTCC block was absent. Sequences between -473 and -458 which did not contain a CTTCC block were also shown to be necessary for high levels of PGK expression. A DNA fragment containing activator sequences up to -473 was shown to interact specifically in vitro with a yeast nuclear protein extract. DNase I footprinting identified a protected region between -473 and -458 and single base changes in DNase I sensitivity at the CTTCC repeats.