The complete nucleotide sequence of the simian virus 41 (SV41) large (L) protein gene was determined. The L gene spanned 6883 nucleotides including a putative trailer RNA, and the L mRNA contained a single large open reading frame encoding a polypeptide of 2269 amino acids. Dot-matrix comparisons under stringent conditions identified domains highly conserved among paramyxoviruses. Domain 3 is the most highly conserved, and has been hypothesized to be the RNA polymerase active site. A phylogenetic tree was constructed from the sequences of the L proteins of seven paramyxoviruses. SV41 was most closely related to human parainfluenza virus type 2 (HPIV-2), and SV41, HPIV-2 and SV5 form a subgroup. The intergenic sequences at the nucleocapsid protein-phosphoprotein and haemagglutinin-neuraminidase-L protein gene junctions, and the 5' trailer sequence of SV41 were also determined, and it was shown that the first 13 nucleotides of the 5' trailer sequence are complementary to those of the 3' leader sequence. The intergenic, and gene-start and -end sequences of SV41, HPIV-2 and SV5 are shown.