The largest E1A isoform of human adenovirus (Ad) includes a C4 zinc finger domain within Conserved Region 3 (CR3) that is largely responsible for activating transcription of the early viral genes. CR3 interacts with multiple cellular factors, but its mechanism of action is modeled primarily on the prototype E1A protein of human Ad type 5. We expanded this model to include a representative member from the six human Ad subgroups. All CR3 domains tested were capable of transactivation. However, there were dramatic differences in their level of transcriptional activation. Despite these functional variations, the interactions of these representative CR3s with known cellular transcriptional regulators revealed only modest differences. Four common cellular targets of all representative CR3s were identified: the proteasome component hSUG1/S8, the acetyltransferases p300/CBP, the mediator component MED23 and TBP. The first three factors appear critical for CR3 function. RNAi against hTBP showed no significant reduction in transactivation by any CR3 tested. These results indicate that the cellular factors previously shown to be important for transactivation by Ad5 CR3 are similarly bound by the E1A proteins of other types. This was confirmed experimentally using a transcriptional squelching assay, which demonstrated that the CR3 regions of each Ad type could compete with Ad5 CR3 for limiting factors. Interestingly, a mutant of Ad5 CR3 (V147L) was capable of squelching wild type Ad5 CR3 despite its failure to bind TBP, MED23, pCAF or p300/CBP suggestive that an additional as yet unidentified cellular factor is required for transactivation by E1A CR3.