SWI/SNF ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes (remodelers) perform critical functions in eukaryotic gene expression control. BAP and PBAP are the fly representatives of the two evolutionarily conserved major subclasses of SWI/SNF remodelers. Both complexes share seven core subunits, including the Brahma ATPase, but differ in a few signature subunits; POLYBROMO and BAP170 specify PBAP, whereas OSA defines BAP. Here, we show that the transcriptional coactivator and PHD finger protein SAYP is a novel PBAP subunit. Biochemical analysis established that SAYP is tightly associated with PBAP but absent from BAP. SAYP, POLYBROMO, and BAP170 display an intimately overlapping distribution on larval salivary gland polytene chromosomes. Genome-wide expression analysis revealed that SAYP is critical for PBAP-dependent transcription. SAYP is required for normal development and interacts genetically with core- and PBAP-selective subunits. Genetic analysis suggested that, like BAP, PBAP also counteracts Polycomb silencing. SAYP appears to be a key architectural component required for the integrity and association of the PBAP-specific module. We conclude that SAYP is a signature subunit that plays a major role in the functional specificity of the PBAP holoenzyme.