Although xenotropic murine leukemia viruses cannot productively infect cells of laboratory mice, cells from various wild-derived mice can support replication of these viruses. Although the virus-sensitive wild mice generally lack all or most of the xenotropic proviral genes characteristic of inbred strains, susceptibility to exogenous infection is unrelated to inheritance of these sequences. Instead, susceptibility is controlled by a single dominant gene, designated Sxv, which maps to chromosome 1. Sxv is closely linked to, but distinct from Bxv-1, the major locus for induction of xenotropic murine leukemia viruses in laboratory mice. Genetic experiments designed to characterize Sxv show that this gene also controls sensitivity to a wild mouse virus with the interference properties of mink cell focus-forming murine leukemia viruses, and that Sxv-mediated susceptibility to xenotropic murine leukemia viruses is restricted by the mink cell focus-forming virus resistance gene Rmcf. These data, together with genetic mapping of the mink cell focus-forming virus cell surface receptor locus to this same region of chromosome 1, suggest that Sxv may encode a wild mouse variant of the mink cell focus-forming virus receptor that allows penetration by xenotropic murine leukemia viruses.