DEAD-box protein (Dbp) family members are essential for gene expression; however, their precise roles and regulation are not fully defined. During messenger (m)RNA export, Gle1 bound to inositol hexakisphosphate (IP(6)) acts via Dbp5 to facilitate remodeling of mRNA-protein complexes. In contrast, here we define a novel Gle1 role in translation initiation through regulation of a different DEAD-box protein, the initiation factor Ded1. We find that Gle1 physically and genetically interacts with Ded1. Surprisingly, whereas Gle1 stimulates Dbp5, it inhibits Ded1 ATPase activity in vitro, and IP(6) does not affect this inhibition. Functionally, a gle1-4 mutant specifically suppresses initiation defects in a ded1-120 mutant, and ded1 and gle1 mutants have complementary perturbations in AUG start site recognition. Consistent with this role in initiation, Gle1 inhibits translation in vitro in competent extracts. These results indicate that Gle1 has a direct role in initiation and negatively regulates Ded1. Together, the differential regulation of two distinct DEAD-box proteins by a common factor (Gle1) establishes a new paradigm for controlling gene expression and coupling translation with mRNA export.