Functions as a master transcriptional regulator of the adaptive response to hypoxia. Under hypoxic conditions, activates the transcription of over 40 genes, including erythropoietin, glucose transporters, glycolytic enzymes, vascular endothelial growth factor, HILPDA, and other genes whose protein products increase oxygen delivery or facilitate metabolic adaptation to hypoxia. Plays an essential role in embryonic vascularization, tumor angiogenesis and pathophysiology of ischemic disease. Binds to core DNA sequence 5'-[AG]CGTG-3' within the hypoxia response element (HRE) of target gene promoters. Activation requires recruitment of transcriptional coactivators such as CREBPB and EP300. Activity is enhanced by interaction with both, NCOA1 or NCOA2. Interaction with redox regulatory protein APEX seems to activate CTAD and potentiates activation by NCOA1 and CREBBP. Involved in the axonal distribution and transport of mitochondria in neurons during hypoxia.