The human papillomavirus type 11 enhancer, when linked to the minimal simian virus 40 early promoter, has been dissected into two domains in monkey kidney CV-1 cells, one being constitutive (designated CEI) and the other inducible by trans-acting E2 proteins encoded by homologous and heterologous papillomaviruses (H. Hirochika, T.R. Broker, and L.T. Chow, J. Virol. 61:2599-2606, 1987; H. Hirochika, R. Hirochika, T.R. Broker, and L.T. Chow, Genes Dev. 2:54-67, 1988). We have demonstrated that the natural promoter regulated by this enhancer is located immediately upstream of the E6 open reading frame (the E6 promoter). We have mapped the cap site to nucleotide 99 by RNase protection. We further demonstrate a second constitutive enhancer element, CEII, which is required for transcription from the E6 promoter in the human cervical carcinoma cell lines C-33A and HeLa but not in CV-1 cells. By deletion mapping, we have localized this cell type-specific domain to 71 base pairs by using chloramphenicol acetyltransferase assays. Deletion of either CEI of CEII dramatically decreased the constitutive activity of the enhancer and the E6 promoter, whereas multimerization of either domain in the absence of the other could independently restore expression. Furthermore, when either of these elements was deleted, the full-length E2 protein of human papillomavirus type 11 abolished the remaining basal E6 promoter activity, demonstrating for the first time that the enhancer-activating E2 protein of human papillomaviruses can also function as a transcriptional repressor for the homologous E6 viral promoter. The presence of multiple copies of each element copies of each element in tandem overcomes the repression by the E2 protein. The effects of CEII are at the level of transcription, without changing the cap site. By gel shift assay, we have shown that a protein present in nuclear extracts of C-33A and HeLa cervical carcinoma cells binds to the newly identified constitutive element II. This protein did not bind the simian virus 40 enhancer, nor did it bind to the enhancer region of many other papillomaviruses tested. UV cross-linking experiments revealed major 44-kilodalton and minor 34-kilodalton proteins that bound specifically to CEII. These two proteins are either related or bind to CEII with high cooperativity. We conclude that transcriptional activities directed by the enhancer and E6 promoter reflect an intricate balance among viral and cellular factors. We present a model on the regulation of the E6 promoter by host and viral transcription factors.