We have used cDNA clones derived from the genomic S RNA segment of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), Armstrong strain, as hybridization probes to monitor virus gene expression during acute infections. Our results with strand-specific probes confirm the ambisense character of the LCMV S RNA segment and document the presence of both genomic sense and genomic complementary sense RNA species over the time course of infection. We have used nucleotide sequence information to predict primary amino acid sequences for the major viral structural proteins, nucleoprotein (NP) and glycoprotein (GP-C). Antibodies raised against synthetic peptides derived from these predicted protein sequences have indicated that the gene order for the S segment is 3' NP----5' GP-C and provided direct demonstration that the GP-1 portion of the GP-C precursor is encoded nearest the 5' end of the S segment. Comparison of the predicted amino acid sequences for NP and GP-C between the Armstrong CA-1371 strain and the WE strain shows over 90% amino acid identity. This suggests that significant differences described for the pathogenic potential of the Arm and WE strains in C3H mice reside in one or a very few critical amino acid changes.