The genome of the human parvovirus B19 contains a transcriptional promoter (BP06) at map position 6, upstream from the nonstructural protein genes. By cotransfecting HeLa cells with this promoter cloned before the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene together with a plasmid containing almost the whole B19 genome, we showed that BP06 is transactivated by a B19 gene product. The transactivating viral protein was identified as the nonstructural protein NS-1. NS-1 synthesized in a wheat germ extract specifically stimulates transcription from BP06 in vitro. NS-1 of the minute virus of mice (MVM) activates the analogous MVM promoter, MP04. NS-1, therefore, has a positive feedback effect on the activity of its own promoter. Moreover, NS-1 of MVM activates the human BP06. We have identified, in the genome of B19, a second transcriptional promoter activity at map position 44, before the capsid protein genes. This promoter, BP44, was identified by cloning fragments of B19 DNA upstream of the CAT gene, transfecting the DNA into HeLa cells, and measuring CAT expression. The strength of the BP44 promoter is similar to that of the capsid gene promoter, MP39, of MVM. In (nonpermissive) HeLa cells, the BP44 promoter is not activated by NS-1. Thus, the BP06 promoter apparently does not determine the tissue specificity of B19 virus but BP44 could do so.