SJL/J mice heterozygous or homozygous for the lpr mutation were compared with SJL/J-+/+ mice for longevity, histopathology, antigenic characteristics of lymphocytes and expression of murine leukemia viruses (MuLV). In comparison to +/+ mice, lpr homozygotes had a markedly shortened life span, died with infiltrative pulmonary disease, but little or no renal disease, and expressed high levels of infectious ecotropic MuLV in lymphoid tissues. SJL-lpr/+ mice had a life span intermediate between SJL-+/+ and -lpr/lpr mice, died with lymphomas that histologically resembled the neoplasms of +/+ mice, and sometimes expressed high levels of ecotropic MuLV. The lymphomas of lpr/+ could be transplanted to +/+ recipients in 78% of cases, and continuous in vitro lines were established from some of them. Similar effects on virus expression or lymphoma development were not observed in other strains homozygous or heterozygous for the lpr mutation. These results indicate that the diseases expressed by mice homozygous for the lpr mutation are highly strain-dependent, and that this gene can have an effect in the heterozygous state in SJL mice.