Bacteriophage 434 encodes a repressor that, like bacteriophage lambda repressor, both activates and represses transcription. As in the lambda chromosome, a region of the 434 chromosome, called the right operator, contains three repressor binding sites (OR1, OR2, and OR3) that mediate these effects on two adjacent promoters. We now show that a part of the 434 repressor, the amino-terminal domain, activates leftward transcription when bound to OR2. We show that 434 repressor bound to OR2 closely approaches (touches) RNA polymerase bound to the leftward promoter. Model building based on ethylation interference and other experiments suggests that in three cases, those involving lambda repressor, 434 repressor, and bacteriophage P22 repressor, and in spite of differences in detailed arrangements, transcription is activated by a contact between the repressor and the same part of RNA polymerase.