The 5' terminal sequences of several adenovirus 2 (Ad2) mRNAs, isolated late in infection, are complementary to sequences within the Ad2 genome which are remote from the DNA from which the main coding sequence of each mRNA is transcribed. This has been observed by forming RNA displacement loops (R loops) between Ad2 DNA and unfractionated polysomal RNA from infected cells. The 5' terminal sequences of mRNAs in R loops, variously located between positions 36 and 92, form complex secondary hybrids with single-stranded DNA from restriction endonuclease fragments containing sequences to the left of position 36 on the Ad2 genome. The structures visualized in the electron microscope show that short sequences coded at map positions 16.6, 19.6 and 26.6 on the R strand are joined to form a leader sequence of 150-200 nucleotides at the 5' end of many late mRNAs. A late mRNA which maps to the left of position 16.6 shows a different pattern of second site hybridization. It contains sequences from 4.9-6.0 linked directly to those from 9.6-10.9. These findings imply a new mechanism for the biosynthesis of Ad2 mRNA in mammalian cells.