Interferon (IFN) activation of genes bearing an IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) is regulated through binding of IFN-stimulated gene factors (ISGF) to the ISRE found in many IFN-stimulated genes. Using a multimerized human 2-5A synthetase ISRE as probe, we screened λgt11 expression libraries for cDNA encoding ISRE-binding activity and isolated a clone for the murine proto-oncogene ets.1. The Ets-1 protein binds to the 2-5A synthetase ISRE at a site that also binds ISGF3, a multicomponent factor whose ISRE binding correlates with IFN-induced activation of transcription from ISRE-containing promoters. IFN-induced ISGF3 complex formation on the ISRE can be inhibited by specific Ets-1 antibody. Coexpression of Ets-1 represses ISRE-dependent reporter activity, suggesting that one or more members of the Ets protein family may negatively regulate transcriptional activity mediated by the 2-5A synthetase ISRE.