129 GIX- mice, unlike animals of the congeneic partner strain GIX+, do not express significant amounts of the retroviral antigens gp70 and p30. Evidence is presented indicating that the GIX phenotype is specified by a distinct regulatory gene acting on multiple transcription units to control the levels of accumulation of specific mRNA species. The steady-state levels of retroviral-homologous mRNA from the tissues of GIX+ and GIX- mice were examined by blot hybridization using as probes DNA fragments from cloned murine leukemia viruses. RNA potentially encoding viral antigens was reduced or absent in GIX- mice, even though no differences in integrated viral genomes were detected between these congeneic strains by DNA blotting. Tissue-specific patterns of accumulation of these RNA species were detected in brain, epididymis, liver, spleen, and thymus, and several distinct RNA species were found to be coordinately regulated with the GIX phenotype. Measurements of RNA synthesis suggest a major role for transcriptional control in the regulation of some retroviral messages.