The cyc1-362 mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is deficient in iso-1-cytochrome c as a consequence of an aberrant ATG codon that initiates a short open reading frame (uORF) in the cyc1 transcribed leader region. We have isolated and characterized functional revertants of cyc1-362 in an effort to define cis- and trans-acting factors that can suppress the effect of the uORF. Genetic and DNA sequence analyses have defined three classes of revertants: (i) those that acquired point mutations in the upstream ATG (uATG), restoring iso-1-cytochrome c to its normal level; (ii) substitution of the normal A residue at position -1 relative to the uATG by either C or T, enhancing iso-1-cytochrome c production from approximately 2% to 6% (C) or 10% (T) of normal, indicating that the nucleotide immediately preceding the initiator codon can affect the efficiency of AUG start codon recognition and that purines are preferred over pyrimidines at this site; and (iii) extragenic suppressors that enhance iso-1-cytochrome c expression to 10-40% of normal while retaining the uATG. These suppressors are represented by five different genes, designated sua1-sua4 and sua6. In contrast to the previously described sua7 and sua8 suppressors, they do not compensate for the uATG by affecting cyc1 transcription start site selection. Potential suppressor mechanisms are discussed.