The sequence of a region of the HCMV genome transcribed during the immediate early (IE) transcriptional phase has been determined. Transcription analysis of this region at the junction between fragments HindIII Z and J has identified three moderately abundant mRNAs of 3.4, 1.7, and 1.65 kb. The 3.4-kb RNA is expressed only under IE conditions of infection. It is composed of four exons and its predicted translation product has features characteristic of a membrane-bound glycoprotein. The 1.7-kb RNA is transcribed at both IE and late times postinfection. It is expressed from the same promoter as the 3.4-kb RNA and does not appear to be spliced. The 1.65-kb RNA is present at the IE phase, but is more abundantly transcribed at late times. It is composed of two exons and is 3' coterminal to the 3.4-kb RNA. Within the predicted translation product of the 1.65-kb RNA there are three regions which show homology to a family of related open reading frames found within the short unique region of HCMV.