Gal1p carries out two functions in the galactose pathway of yeast. It activates Gal4p by interacting with Gal80p--a function that can also served by Gal3p--and it catalyzes the formation of galactose-1-phosphate. Recently, we and others have presented biochemical evidence for complex formation between Gal1p and Gal80p. Here, we extend these data and present genetic evidence for an interaction between Gal1p and Gal80p in vivo, using a two-hybrid assay. Interaction between Gal1p and Gal80p depends on the presence of galactose, but not on the catalytic activity of Gal1p. A new class of Kluyveromyces lactis mutants was isolated, designated Klgal1-m, which have lost the derepressing activity but retain galactokinase activity, indicating that the two Gal1p activities are functionally independent. The KlGal1-m proteins are defective in their ability to interact with Gal80p in a two-hybrid assay. The locations of gall-m mutations identify putative interaction sites in Gal1p and Gal80p. A dominant mutation, KlGAL1-d, leads to a high level of constitutive expression of genes of the galactose pathway. The behavior of chimeric proteins consisting of Gal3p and KlGal1p sequences indicates that both the N-terminal and C-terminal halves of KlGal1p are involved in specific interaction with KlGal80p.