Using a recombinant vaccinia virus vector, the fiber protein from adenovirus serotype 2 has been expressed in human cells; the protein expressed was correctly assembled into trimers, glycosylated, and transported to the nucleus. Deletion of amino acids 2-5 (KRAR) resulted in accumulation of fiber in the cytoplasm; fusion of the sequence TKRVRL, found at the beginning of Ad7 fiber, to the N-terminus of this mutant restored correct targeting. Changing the charge of amino acids 91 and 92 within another potential targeting sequence (LKKTK to LEETK) had little effect on nuclear targeting. When fused to the N-terminus of beta-galactosidase and expressed in recombinant vaccinia virus, neither MKRARP nor MTKRVRL (from Ad2 and Ad7 fibers, respectively), were sufficient for efficient transport of the hybrid protein to the nucleus; on the other hand, fusions of either MKRARPSEDTF (from Ad2 fiber) or of MKRPRP (a known targeting sequence from the C-terminus of Ad2 E1A proteins) to beta-galactosidase were localized to the nucleus. These results suggest that sequences at the N-terminus of Ad2 and Ad7 fiber are required for correct nuclear targeting.