Previous studies have demonstrated that the HPV-16 E7 gene product encodes the major transforming activity of the virus in rodent cell systems. In this study we have generated a series of point mutations affecting the region of HPV-16 E7, which shows homology to adenovirus E1a conserved domain (CD)1. In conjunction with previously described mutants in the region of E7 with similarity to E1a CD2 and SV40 LT, we have investigated three known activities of the E7 protein; transformation, association with the cellular RB protein and induction of cellular DNA synthesis. The results show that RB binding correlates with the ability of E7 to induce cellular DNA synthesis and mediate cell transformation. In addition an unidentified function of E7, which is necessary for transformation of NIH3T3 cells, but does not affect RB binding or the ability to induce cellular DNA synthesis, has also been demonstrated. This study therefore identifies two separate regions of the E7 gene necessary for transformation of established cells. One of these, in the region of E7 which shows similarity to E1a CD2 and LT, is required for RB binding and DNA synthesis. The other region important for transformation, in the N-terminus of E7, is separable from the RB binding/DNA synthesis function.