A biotinylated-oligonucleotide-based method was used to isolate the subgenomic mRNAs of the coronavirus transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) to investigate the amounts of the mRNAs produced at early, middle and late times in the replication cycle. TGEV mRNA 6, which encodes the N protein, was observed to be the most abundant species throughout the replication cycle. The ratios of mRNA 6 to the other mRNAs were 1:0.11 (mRNA 2), 1:0.16 (mRNAs 3 and 4) and 1:0.37 (mRNA 5) at 12 h post-infection. All the mRNA species were differentially regulated throughout the replication cycle, although the rate of accumulation of mRNAs 4, 5 and 6, but not mRNA 3, increased markedly towards the end of the replication cycle. mRNA 7 was not detected in the system used. There was no observable correlation between the amounts of each mRNA synthesised and the potential degree of base pairing between the 3' end of the leader sequence and the transcription associated sequences on the genomic RNA at any time during the replication cycle. This indicates that the extent of base pairing was not the only factor involved in the control of subgenomic mRNA synthesis.