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Expression of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae GAL4 protein under its own (galactose-inducible) control gave 5 to 10 times the level of protein observed when the GAL4 gene was on a high-copy plasmid. Purification of GAL4 by a procedure including affinity chromatography on a GAL4-binding DNA column yielded not only GAL4 but also a second protein, shown to be GAL80 by its reaction with an antipeptide antibody. Sequence comparisons of GAL4 and other members of a family of proteins sharing homologous cysteine finger motifs identified an additional region of homology in the middle of these proteins shown by genetic analysis to be important for GAL4 function. GAL4 could be cleaved proteolytically at the boundary of the conserved region, defining internal and carboxy-terminal folded domains.