We cloned and determined the nucleotide sequences of cDNAs against genomic RNA encoding the L protein of human parainfluenza type 2 virus (PIV-2). The L gene is 6904 nucleotides long including the intergenic region at the HN-L junction and putative negative strand leader RNA, almost all of which is complementary to the positive strand leader RNA of PIV-2. The deduced L protein contains 2262 amino acids with a calculated molecular weight of 256,366. The L protein of PIV-2 shows 39.9, 28.9, 27.8 and 28.3% homologies with Newcastle disease virus (NDV), Sendai virus (SV), parainfluenza type 3 virus (PIV-3) and measles virus (MV), respectively. Although sequence data on other components of transcriptive complex, NP and P, suggested a closer relationship between PIV-2 and MV, as concerns the L protein, MV is closely related to another group as SV and PIV-3. From analysis of the alignment of the five l proteins, six blocks composed of conserved amino acids were found in the L proteins. The L protein of PIV-2 was detected in purified virions and virus-infected cells using antiserum directed against an oligopeptide corresponding to the amino terminal region. Primer extension analyses showed that the intergenic regions at the NP-P, P-M, M-F, F-HN and HN-L junctions are 4, 45, 28, 8 and 42 nucleotides long, respectively, indicating that the intergenic regions exhibit no conservation of length and sequence. Furthermore, the starting and ending sequences of paramyxoviruses were summarized.