Prp20/Srm1, a homolog of the mammalian protein RCC1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, binds to double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) through a multicomponent complex in vitro. This dsDNA-binding capability of the Prp20 complex has been shown to be cell-cycle dependent; affinity for dsDNA is lost during DNA replication. By analyzing a number of temperature sensitive (ts) prp20 alleles produced in vivo and in vitro, as well as site-directed mutations in highly conserved positions in the imperfect repeats that make up the protein, we have determined a relationship between the residues at these positions, cell viability, and the dsDNA-binding abilities of the Prp20 complex. These data reveal that the essential residues for Prp20 function are located mainly in the second and the third repeats at the amino-terminus and the last two repeats, the seventh and eighth, at the carboxyl-terminus of Prp20. Carboxyl-terminal mutations in Prp20 differ from amino-terminal mutations in showing loss of dsDNA binding: their conditional lethal phenotype and the loss of dsDNA binding affinity are both suppressible by overproduction of Gsp1, a GTP-binding constituent of the Prp20 complex, homologous to the mammalian protein TC4/Ran. Although wild-type Prp20 does not bind to dsDNA on its own, two mutations in conserved residues were found that caused the isolated protein to bind dsDNA. These data imply that, in situ, the other components of the Prp20 complex regulate the conformation of Prp20 and thus its affinity for dsDNA. Gsp1 not only influences the dsDNA-binding ability of Prp20 but it also regulates other essential function(s) of the Prp20 complex. Overproduction of Gsp1 also suppresses the lethality of two conditional mutations in the penultimate carboxyl-terminal repeat of Prp20, even though these mutations do not eliminate the dsDNA binding activity of the Prp20 complex. Other site-directed mutants reveal that internal and carboxyl-terminal regions of Prp20 that lack homology to RCC1 are dispensable for dsDNA binding and growth.