We have previously shown that monomeric p53 can transactivate target genes in vivo and that C-terminal fragments of p53 are oncogenic. To further elaborate these findings a series of C-terminal truncations of p53 was generated. The transactivation capacity and the ability of the truncated p53 to suppress oncogene-mediated transformation were studied. We found that p53 truncated at amino acid 303 (p53wtdl303) can still function in both assays, though less efficiently than full length wild type (wt) p53. Transforming C-terminal fragments inhibited transactivation induced by full length wt p53. Surprisingly, they also inhibited transactivation by wtdl303, with which they do not share any overlapping sequences. Furthermore, the C-terminal fragments repressed the transactivation domains of several viral and cellular transcriptional activators. These data raise the possibility that the C-terminal domain of p53 may compete with the p53 transactivation domain for a common basal transcription factor.