The 21-base pair repeat elements of the SV40 promoter contain six tandem copies of the GGGCGG hexanucleotide (GC-box), each of which can bind, with varying affinity, to the cellular transcription factor, Sp1. In vitro SV40 early RNA synthesis is mediated by interaction of Sp1 with GC-boxes I, II, and III, whereas transcription in the late direction is mediated by binding to GC-boxes III, V, and VI.