Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA2) is a transcriptional activator that is essential for EBV-driven B cell immortalization. EBNA2 is targeted to responsive promoters through interaction with a cellular DNA binding protein, C promoter binding factor 1 (CBF1). A transcriptional repression domain has been identified within CBF1. This domain also interacts with EBNA2, and repression is masked by EBNA2 binding. Thus, EBNA2 acts by countering transcriptional repression. Mutation at amino acid 233 of CBF1 abolishes repression and correlates with a loss-of-function mutation in the Drosophila homolog Su(H).