Human T-cell leukemia viruses (HTLV) are closely associated with some human T-cell leukemias and lymphomas. A unique 3' region of the HTLV genome is believed to be involved in HTLV-induced cellular transformation, although the function of this region has yet to be determined. A subgenomic messenger RNA transcribed from this region of HTLV has now been characterized. These results provide direct evidence for the expression of a novel gene in HTLV.