Structural genes of phospholipid biosynthesis in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are activated by the Ino2p/Ino4p transcription factor that binds to ICRE promoter motifs and mediates maximal gene expression in the absence of inositol. We identified the ino80 mutation causing inositol auxotrophy as a result of a defect in ICRE-dependent gene activation. The product of the corresponding wild-type gene INO80 (= YGL150C) shows significant similarity to the Snf2p family of DNA-dependent ATPases. Nevertheless, SNF2 in increased gene dosage did not suppress ino80 mutant phenotypes. Mutation of the Ino80p lysine residue corresponding to the NTP binding site of Snf2p led to a non-functional protein. In ino80 null mutants, gene activation mediated by an ICRE decreased to 16% of the wild-type level. Maximal expression of PHO5, GAL1, CYC1 and ICL1 was also significantly reduced. Thus, Ino80p affects several transcription factors involved in unrelated pathways. As demonstrated by gel filtration, Ino80p is part of a high-molecular-weight complex of more than 1 MDa. Similar to what was found for Snf2p, the Ino80p-containing complex may influence the transcriptional level of several unrelated structural genes by functioning as an ATPase that possibly acts on chromatin.