The yeast auxiliary transcription factor GAL11, a candidate for the coactivator, was partially purified from yeast cells, and its function was characterized in a cell-free transcription system. The partially purified GAL11 protein stimulated basal transcription from the CYC1 core promoter by a factor of 4-5 at the step of preinitiation complex formation. GAL11 protein also enhanced transcription activated by general regulatory factor 1, GAL4-AH, or GAL4-VP16 to the same extent as the basal transcription. Therefore, the apparent potentiation of the activators by GAL11 was attributable to the stimulation of basal transcription. The wild-type GAL11 protein (but not a mutant-type protein) produced in bacteria stimulated transcription as effectively as GAL11 from yeast. These results suggest that GAL11 functions as a positive cofactor of basal and activator-induced transcription in a cell-free transcription system.