The transposable IFP2 element of Trichoplusia ni was originally isolated as a host DNA insertion in spontaneous FP mutants of Galleria mellonella or Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis viruses (NPVs). The termini of IFP2 insertions from five independently isolated FP mutants were sequenced. In all cases IFP2 is flanked by 13-bp terminal inverted repeats and has additional inverted repeats of 19 bp in length located asymmetrically with respect to the ends of the element. Insertion of IFP2 into the viral genome always generated a duplication of the tetranucleotide target site, TTAA. There was an apparent preference for insertion within a 12-bp A + T-rich imperfect palindromic sequence surrounding the target site. Sequence analysis of three independent IFP2 elements revealed an internal domain of 2.475 kb containing an RNA polymerase II promoter region and two large open reading frames. Primer extension analysis of IFP2-specific mRNA positioned the 5' terminus of the transcript. The element is present in DNA isolated from T. ni cell lines TN-368 and TN-5B1, but is not apparent in DNAs isolated from the TN-R2 cell line or our laboratory colony of T. ni larvae, suggesting IFP2 was recently introduced into the T. ni genome.