CRTR-1 is a member of the CP2 family of transcription factors. Unlike other members of the family which are widely expressed, CRTR-1 expression shows specific spatio-temporal regulation. Gene targeting demonstrates that CRTR-1 plays a central role in the maturation and function of the salivary glands and the kidney. CRTR-1 has also recently been identified as a component of the complex transcriptional network that maintains pluripotency in embryonic stem (ES) cells. CRTR-1 was previously shown to be a repressor of transcription. We examine the activity of CRTR-1 in ES and other cells and show that CRTR-1 is generally an activator of transcription and that it modulates the activity of other family members, CP2, NF2d9 and altNF2d9, in a cell specific manner. We also demonstrate that CRTR-1 activity is regulated by sumoylation at a single major site, residue K30. These findings imply that functional redundancy with other family members may mask important roles for CRTR-1 in other tissues, including the blastocyst stage embryo and embryonic stem cells.