It is well documented that a repeated CATT element in the human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) gene promoter is required for promoter activity. However, the transcription factors that are able to transactivate this enhancer element remain unidentified. Recently, we have found that nuclear factor YY1 can interact with the enhancer element. Here, we report that in addition to YY1, two other nuclear factors have been identified in the DNA-protein complexes formed by the CATT oligonucleotide and the Jurkat T-cell nuclear protein. One of these factors is AP1, and the other one is an Sp1-related protein. Results from transient transfection of Jurkat T cells have revealed that formation of both AP1 and the Sp1-related complex is required for the full enhancer activity of the CATT element. This result is supported by cotransfection of a c-jun expression vector and mutational analysis of the AP1 site or the Sp1-related protein binding site. In contrast, formation of the YY1 complex suppresses enhancer activity, since deletion of the YY1 complex induces an augmentation of the enhancer activity and overexpression of YY1 results in an attenuation of the enhancer activity. Results from the mechanism study have revealed that YY1 is able to inhibit transactivation mediated by either AP1 or the Sp1-related protein, and YY1 suppressive activity is DNA binding dependent. Taken together, these data support the ideas that AP1 and the Sp1-related nuclear protein are required for transactivation of the human GM-CSF gene promoter and that YY1 can suppress transactivation of the promoter even under inducible conditions.