Activation of the rat prolactin (rPRL) promoter by Ras is a prototypical example of tissue-specific transcriptional regulation in a highly differentiated cell type. Using a series of site-specific mutations and deletions of the proximal rPRL promoter we have mapped the major Ras/Raf response element (RRE) to a composite Ets-1/GHF-1 binding site located between positions -217 and -190. Mutation of either the Ets-1 or GHF-1 binding sites inhibits Ras and Raf activation of the rPRL promoter, and insertion of this RRE into the rat growth hormone promoter confers Ras responsiveness. We show that Ets-1 is expressed in GH4 cells and, consistent with their functional synergistic interaction, both Ets-1 and GHF-1 are able to bind specifically to this bipartite RRE. We confirm that Ets-1 or a related Ets factor is the nuclear target of the Ras pathway leading to activation of the rPRL promoter and demonstrate that Elk-1 and Net do not mediate the Ras response. Thus, the pituitary-specific POU homeodomain transcription factor, GHF-1, serves as a cell-specific signal integrator by functionally interacting with an Ets-1-like factor, at uniquely juxtaposed binding sites, thereby targeting an otherwise ubiquitous Ras signaling pathway to a select subset of cell-specific GHF-1-dependent genes.