Jimpy (jp), myelin synthesis-deficient (jpmsd), and quaking (qk) are mutations which affect myelination to different degrees in the mouse central nervous system (CNS). Total messenger RNA (mRNA) and myelin basic protein (MBP)-specific mRNA from brains of these three mutants have been analyzed by in vitro translation and immunoprecipitation with antibody to MBP. The results indicate that the three mutations do not affect the level of total MBP-specific mRNA in the CNS but do affect the relative proportions of the various MBP-related translation products encoded in vitro. In each case the proportions of 14K and 12K Mr MBP-related translation products are reduced and the proportions of 21.5K, 18.5K, and 17K Mr MBP-related translation products are increased relative to wild type. This effect is most pronounced in jp, less so in jpmsd, and least pronounced in qk animals. The MBP-related polypeptides that accumulate in vivo have also been analyzed in the three mutants by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) followed by immunoblotting with antibody to MBP. The levels of all the major MBP-related polypeptides that accumulate in vivo are reduced in all three mutations. The reduction is most pronounced in jp, less in jpmsd, and least pronounced in qk animals. These results indicate that the jp, jpmsd, and qk mutations exhibit qualitatively similar phenotypic effects on MBP gene expression but the magnitude of the effect is proportional to the extent of hypomyelination in each mutant.