We used a yeast genetic screen to isolate cDNAs that encode a protein, SRF accessory protein-1 (SAP-1), that is recruited to the c-fos serum response element (SRE) as part of a ternary complex that includes serum response factor (SRF). SAP-1 requires DNA-bound SRF for ternary complex formation and makes extensive DNA contacts to the 5' side of SRF, but does not bind DNA autonomously. Ternary complex formation by SAP-1 requires only the DNA-binding domain of SRF, which can be replaced by that of the related yeast protein MCM1. We isolated cDNAs encoding two forms of SAP-1 protein, SAP-1a and SAP-1b, which differ at their C termini. Both SAP-1 proteins contain three regions of striking homology with the elk-1 protein, including an N-terminal ets domain. Ternary complex formation by SAP-1 requires both the ets domain and a second conserved region 50 amino acids to its C-terminal side. SAP-1 has similar DNA binding properties to the previously characterized HeLa cell protein p62/TCF.