The major urinary proteins (MUPs) of the mouse are encoded by a multigene family located at the Mup a locus on chromosome 4. Previous investigations have shown that the MUPs are synthesized in the liver, secreted and then excreted in the urine. We have found significant levels of MUP mRNA in several secretory tissues: the liver and the submaxillary, lachrymal and mammary glands. There are striking differences in hormonal and developmental regulation of MUP gene expression in these tissues. Furthermore, each tissue appears to express a characteristic pattern of MUP mRNAs. In particular, the lachrymal glands appear to express an entirely different set of MUP mRNAs. These results are discussed in relation to the organization of the MUP gene cluster and a possible function of the MUPs.