The "P" gene of the paramyxovirus SV5 encodes two known proteins, P (Mr approximately equal to 44,000) and V (Mr approximately equal to 24,000). The complete nucleotide sequence of the "P" gene has been obtained and is found to contain two open reading frames, neither of which is large enough to encode the P protein. We have shown that the P and V proteins are translated from two mRNAs that differ by the presence of two nontemplated G residues in the P mRNA. These two additional nucleotides convert the two open reading frames to one of 392 amino acids. The P and V proteins are amino coterminal and have 164 amino acids in common. The unique C terminus of V consists of a cysteine-rich region that resembles a cysteine-rich metal binding domain. An open reading frame that contains this cysteine-rich region exists in all other paramyxovirus "P" gene sequences examined, which suggests that it may have important biological significance.