Loci on the short arm of chromosome 11 between 11p11 and 11p15 likely are involved directly or indirectly in the regulation of the HPV-16 enhancer-promoter strength and this may contribute to the control of the level of viral early gene expression. Transient expression assays have shown that the HPV-16 enhancer-promoter functions much stronger in fibroblasts in which this region of chromosome 11 (del-11 cells) is deleted than in normal diploid human embryonic fibroblasts. The differential regulation of the HPV-16 long control region may be due either to the presence or activity of a cellular transcription factor which up-regulates HPV-16 early gene expression in del-11 cells or to a factor which down-regulates expression in diploid cells. Since the HPV-16 enhancer containing fragment (nt 7003 to nt 57) in combination with the SV40 promoter functions equally well in del-11 cells as in diploid cells a target of this factor likely is located in the putative HPV-16 early promoter region. The relative resistance of diploid human embryonic fibroblasts to HPV-16 induced transformation could be explained by the inactivity of the HPV-16 early promoter as these cells could be transformed by HPV-16 DNA constructs in which the early gene expression was driven from a heterologous enhancer-promoter. These results may indicate that loci on the short arm could suppress HPV-16-induced transformation by down-regulating the activity of the viral early promoter.