The sequence of 1000 nucleotides at the 3' end of tobacco mosaic virus RNA has been determined. The sequence contains the entire coat protein cistron as well as regions to its left and right. Sequence characterization was by conventional methods for use with uniformly 32P labeled RNA complemented by newer methods for in vitro 5' and 3' 32P end-labeling of RNA and its subsequent rapid analysis. The noncoding region separating the coat protein cistron from the 3' terminus is 204 residues long and may be folded into a clover-leaf-type secondary structure. The distribution of termination codons to the left of the coat protein cistron suggests that the end of the adjacent cistron is separated from the beginning of the coat protein cistron by only two nucleotides. The subgenomic viral coat protein mRNA was isolated from infected tissue and shown to be capped. The nontranslated sequence separating the cap from the AUG initiation codon is 9 residues long and thus overlaps a portion of the adjacent cistron on the genome RNA.