The retinoblastoma (RB) protein is implicated in transcriptional regulation of at least five cellular genes, including c-fos, c-myc, and transforming growth factor beta 1. Cotransfection of RB and truncated promoter constructs has defined a discrete element (retinoblastoma control element; RCE) within the promoters of each of these genes as being necessary for RB-mediated transcription control. Previously, we have shown that RCEs form protein-DNA complexes in vitro with three heretofore unidentified nuclear proteins and mutation of their DNA-binding site within the c-fos RCE results in an abrogation of RCE-dependent transcription in vivo. Here, we demonstrate that one of the nuclear proteins that binds the c-fos, c-myc, and transforming growth factor beta 1 RCEs in vitro is Sp-1 and that Sp-1 stimulates RCE-dependent transcription in vivo. Moreover, we show that Sp-1-mediated transcription is stimulated by the transient coexpression of RB protein. We conclude from these observations that RB may regulate transcription in part by virtue of its ability to functionally interact with Sp-1.