Sequence-specific DNA-binding protein that interacts with inducible viral and cellular enhancer elements to regulate transcription of selected genes. AP-2 factors bind to the consensus sequence 5'-GCCNNNGGC-3' and activate genes involved in a large spectrum of important biological functions including proper eye, face, body wall, limb and neural tube development. They also suppress a number of genes including MCAM/MUC18, C/EBP alpha and MYC. AP-2-alpha is the only AP-2 protein required for early morphogenesis of the lens vesicle. Together with the CITED2 coactivator, stimulates the PITX2 P1 promoter transcription activation. Associates with chromatin to the PITX2 P1 promoter region.