Many viruses utilize the cellular transcription apparatus to express their genomes, and they encode transcriptional regulatory proteins that modulate the process. Here we review the current understanding of three viral regulatory proteins. The adenovirus E1A protein acts within the nucleus to regulate transcription through its ability to bind to other proteins. The herpes simplex type 1 virus VP16 protein acts within the nucleus to control transcription by binding to DNA in conjunction with cellular proteins. The human T-cell leukemia virus Tax protein influences transcription through interactions with cellular proteins in the nucleus as well as the cytoplasm.