The essential Hsp40, Sis1, is a J-protein cochaperone for the Ssa class of Hsp70's of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Sis1 is required for the maintenance of the prion [RNQ(+)], as Sis1 lacking its 55-amino-acid glycine-rich region (G/F) does not maintain [RNQ(+)]. We report that overexpression of Sis1DeltaG/F in an otherwise wild-type strain had a negative effect on both cell growth and [RNQ(+)] maintenance, while overexpression of wild-type Sis1 did not. Overexpression of the related Hsp40 Ydj1 lacking its G/F region did not cause inhibition of growth, indicating that this dominant effect of Sis1DeltaG/F is not a characteristic shared by all Hsp40's. Analysis of small deletions within the SIS1 G/F region indicated that the observed dominant effects were caused by the absence of sequences known to be important for Sis1's unique cellular functions. These inhibitory effects of Sis1DeltaG/F were obviated by alterations in the N-terminal J-domain of Sis1 that affect interaction with Ssa's ATPase domain. In addition, a genetic screen designed to isolate additional mutations that relieved these inhibitory effects identified two residues in Sis1's carboxy-terminal domain. These alterations disrupted the interaction of Sis1 with the 10-kD carboxy-terminal regulatory domain of Ssa1, indicating that Sis1 has a bipartite interaction with Ssa in vivo.