Induction of gene expression by the papillomavirus E2 protein requires its ∼220-amino-acid amino-terminal transactivation domain (TAD) to interact with cellular factors that lead to formation of an activated RNA polymerase complex. These interaction partners have yet to be identified and characterized. The E2 protein localizes the transcription complex to the target promoter through its carboxy-terminal sequence-specific DNA binding domain. This domain has been reported to bind the basal transcription factors TATA-binding protein and TFIIB. We present evidence establishing a direct interaction between amino acids 74 to 134 of the E2 TAD and TFIIB. Within this region, the E2 point mutant N127Y was partially defective and W99C was completely defective for TFIIB binding in vitro, and these mutants displayed reduced or no transcriptional activity, respectively, upon transfection into C33A cells. Overexpression of TFIIB specifically restored transactivation by N127Y to close to wild-type levels, while W99C remained inactive. To further demonstrate the functional interaction of TFIIB with the wild-type E2 TAD, this region was fused to a bacterial DNA binding domain (LexA:E2:1-216). Upon transfection with increasing amounts of LexA:E2:1-216, there was reduction of its transcriptional activity, a phenomenon thought to result from titration of limiting factors, or squelching. Squelching of LexA:E2:1-216, or the wild-type E2 activator, was partially relieved by overexpression of TFIIB. We conclude that a specific region of the E2 TAD functionally interacts with TFIIB.