The nucleotide sequence of the unique region of coronavirus MHV-A59 mRNA 2 has been determined. Two open reading frames (ORF) are predicted: ORF1 potentially encodes a protein of 261 amino acids; its amino acid sequence contains elements which indicate nucleotide binding properties. ORF2 predicts a 413 amino acids protein; it lacks a translation initiation codon and is therefore probably a pseudogene. The amino acid sequence of ORF2 shares 30% homology with the HA1 hemagglutinin sequence of influenza C virus. A short stretch of nucleotides immediately upstream of ORF2 shares 83% homology with the MHC class I nucleotide sequences. We discuss the possibility that both similarities are the result of recombinations and present a model for the acquisition and the subsequent inactivation of ORF2; the model applies also to MHV-A59-related coronaviruses in which we expect ORF2 to be still functional.