Mutations in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae SUA7 gene were isolated as suppressors of an aberrant ATG translation initiation codon in the leader region of the cyc1 gene. Molecular and genetic analysis of the cloned SUA7 gene demonstrated that SUA7 is a single copy, essential gene encoding a basic protein (calculated Mr of 38,142) that is homologous to human transcription factor TFIIB. Analysis of cyc1 transcripts from sua7 strains revealed that suppression is a consequence of diminished transcription initiation at the normal start sites in favor of initiation at downstream sites, including a major site between the aberrant and normal ATG start codons. A similar effect was found at the ADH1 locus, establishing that this effect is not cyc1 gene-specific. Thus, SUA7 encodes a yeast TFIIB homolog and functions in transcription start site selection.