Total poly(A)-containing mRNA was isolated from the MOPC-315 and MOPC-315 NR plasmacytomas. The RNA was further fractionated on sodium dodecyl sulfate-sucrose gradients. The MOPC-315 mRNA fractions directed the synthesis of both the heavy chain and light chain precursor of the MOPC-315 IgA protein in a cell-free extract of Ehrlich ascites tumor cells. None of the MOPC-315 NR mRNA fractions tested programmed the synthesis of the heavy chain in this system. Analysis of cell-free products by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and by immunoprecipitation demonstrated that no translatable heavy chain mRNA could be extracted from the MOPC-315 NR variant plasmacytoma.