In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, RNA polymerase III transcription was found to be dependent not upon the canonical TATA box-binding protein (TBP) but instead upon the TBP-related factor 1 (TRF1) (Takada, S., Lis, J. T., Zhou, S., and Tjian, R. (2000) Cell 101, 459-469). Here we confirm that transcription of fly tRNA genes requires TRF1. However, we unexpectedly find that U6 snRNA gene promoters are occupied primarily by TBP in cells and that knockdown of TBP, but not TRF1, inhibits U6 transcription in cells. Moreover, U6 transcription in vitro effectively utilizes TBP, whereas TBP cannot substitute for TRF1 to promote tRNA transcription in vitro. Thus, in fruit flies, different classes of RNA polymerase III promoters differentially utilize TBP and TRF1 for the initiation of transcription.