Transcription of the human interferon-beta (IFN-beta) gene is induced by a variety of agents such as viruses, dsRNA and some cytokines. In this study, we describe a nuclear factor, termed interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1), that is involved in the transcription of IFN-beta and possibly other genes. We demonstrate that IRF-1 functions in virus-induced transcription by interacting with previously identified, IFN-beta regulatory DNA elements. Our data suggest that IRF-1 participates in the transient formation of an induction-specific complex(es) with the regulatory elements. IRF-1 may also be involved in silencing the function of the SV40 enhancer juxtaposed to the regulatory elements in uninduced cells.