We demonstrate that the hormone-binding domain (HBD) of the human estrogen receptor (ER) can function as an autonomous regulatory domain in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. As in mammalian cells, the HBD can subject the activity of a heterologous protein, which is fused to it, to hormonal control. Thus, a chimeric transcriptional activator consisting of (i) the DNA-binding domain of GAL4, (ii) the ER HBD, and (iii) the activation domain of viral protein 16 (VP16) stimulates both episomal and integrated reporter genes exclusively in the presence of steroid hormone. Steroids being gratuitous signals for yeast, this fusion protein is a convenient tool for highly regulated production of proteins of interest. Notably, it can be exploited to activate the commonly used galactose-inducible expression vectors without switching the carbon source.