Antibodies prepared against a human papilloma virus-1 (HPV-1) E4/beta-galactosidase fusion protein identified several polypeptides in HPV-1, but not HPV-2 or 4, induced papillomas. The major E4 protein, that represented up to 30% of total cellular protein, was a 16/17-K doublet which was purified by column chromatography and analysed for amino acid content. A peptide derived by chymotryptic digestion was purified by h.p.l.c. and subjected to amino acid sequencing. The unique sequence obtained, Gly-His-Pro-Asp-Leu-Ser-Leu, identified the 16/17-K doublet as a product of the HPV-1 E4 gene region. Antibodies to both the E4/beta-galactosidase fusion protein and the 16/17-K doublet identified two smaller polypeptides (10/11-K) which may represent spliced products of E4. We propose that the products of the HPV-1 E4 gene region are not classical DNA tumor virus early proteins and suggest that they play a role in virus maturation.