The octamer motif (ATGCAAAT) paradoxically plays a central role in mediating the activity of both B-cell specific and ubiquitous promoters. It has been widely assumed that the predominantly lymphoid-restricted octamer-binding factor Oct-2 mediates tissue-specific promoter activity, whereas the ubiquitously expressed Oct-1 mediates general promoter activity, but this view has been challenged. Here we use a modified yeast one-hybrid assay to isolate a B-cell factor, Bob1, which associates with either Oct-2 or Oct-1. In transfection experiments, this factor boosts Oct-1-mediated promoter activity and to a lesser extent, that of Oct-2. This coactivation is strictly dependent on the specific interaction with Oct-1 or Oct-2 because deletion of the octamer motif abolishes coactivation. We conclude that Bob1 could represent a new tissue-specific transcriptional coactivator which may convert a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor to a cell-type-specific activator.