Human papillomavirus replication initiator, the E1 helicase, binds weakly to the origin of DNA replication. Purified human chaperone proteins Hsp70 and Hsp40 (HDJ-1 and HDJ-2) independently and additively enhanced E1 binding to the origin. The interaction between E1 and Hsp70 was transient and required ATP hydrolysis, whereas Hsp40 bound to E1 directly and remained in the complex. A peptide of 20 residues spanning the HPD loop and helix II of the J domain of YDJ-1 also stimulated E1 binding to the origin, alone or in combination with Hsp70 or Hsp40. A mutated peptide (H34Q) had a reduced activity, while an adjacent or an overlapping peptide had no effect. Neither Hsp70 nor the J peptide altered the E1/DNA ratio in the complex. Electron microscopy showed that E1 mainly bound to DNA as a hexamer. In the presence of Hsp40, E1 primarily bound to DNA as a dihexamer. Preincubation of chaperones with vital E1 and template shortened the lag time and increased replication in a cell-free system. Since two helicases are essential for bidirectional replication of human papillomavirus DNA, these results demonstrate that, as in prokaryotes, chaperones play an important role in the assembly of preinitiation complexes on the origin.