Endogenous mink cell focus-forming (MCF)-like retroviral sequences in the murine genome are stable, inherited sequences analogous to other chromosomal genes. As such, it is thought that they are transcribed and translated in a manner analogous to other genes. However, when the SL12.4 CD4-, CD8- thymoma cell line was studied for nuclear/cytoplasmic distribution of endogenous MCF-related transcripts, there was a nuclear predominance. The great majority of full-length 8.4-kb endogenous MCF-related transcripts were nuclear. Even the smaller, spliced 3.0-kb transcripts were at least as prominent in the nucleus as the cytoplasm, whereas cellular RNA was 80% cytoplasmic and other cellular transcripts were represented in the cytoplasm to a much greater extent than the nucleus. Size cannot fully account for the nuclear presence of MCF-related endogenous transcripts, because the 3.0-kb MCF transcripts occurred in the nucleus to a much greater relative extent than 3.8-kb c-myb transcripts. These studies point to retroviral-like structures of these transcripts as influencing their intracellular compartmentalization.