Essentially all nuclear eukaryotic gene transcription depends upon the function of the transcription factor TATA-binding protein (TBP). Here we show that the abundant, multifunctional DNA binding transcription factor repressor activator protein Rap1p interacts directly with TBP. TBP-Rap1p binding occurs efficiently in vivo at physiological expression levels, and in vitro analyses confirm that this is a direct interaction. The DNA binding domains of the two proteins mediate interaction between TBP and Rap1p. TBP-Rap1p complex formation inhibits TBP binding to TATA promoter DNA. Alterations in either Rap1p or TBP levels modulate mRNA gene transcription in vivo. We propose that Rap1p represents a heretofore unrecognized regulator of TBP.