When targeted to sequences adjacent to a TATA element, pyrrole-imidazole (Py-Im) polyamides inhibit the DNA binding activity of TATA box binding protein (TBP) and basal transcription by RNA polymerase II. In the present study, we scanned the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 promoter for polyamide inhibition of TBP binding and transcription using a series of DNA constructs in which a polyamide binding site was placed at various distances from the TATA box. Polyamide interference with either TBP-DNA or TFIID-TFIIA-DNA contacts both upstream and downstream of the TATA element resulted in inhibition of transcription. Our results define important protein-DNA interactions outside of the TATA element and suggest that transcription inhibition of selected gene promoters can be achieved with polyamides that target unique sequences within these promoters at a distance from the TATA element. Our studies also demonstrate the utility of the Py-Im polyamides for discovery of functionally important protein-DNA contacts involved in transcription.