Multiple spliced transcripts of human papillomavirus type 1 were detected by electron microscopic analysis of R-loops formed with total RNA extracted from plantar warts and with poly(A)+ RNA isolated from cultured keratinocytes infected with human papillomavirus type 1. The 5' ends of the RNAs were mapped to sites in the E7 open reading frame (ORF), just upstream of the E6 ORF and in the upstream regulatory region. Species with 5' ends in E7 accounted for over 95% of all transcripts seen. Two polyadenylation sites were used, one at the end of the early (E) region of the viral DNA, the other at the end of the late (L) region. The most abundant species had a short 5' exon of approximately 100 nucleotides spanning the junction of the E7 and E1 ORFs spliced to a 3' exon of 800 nucleotides in the region with overlapping E2 and E4 ORFs; it was polyadenylated at the end of the E region. This species probably encodes the abundant E4 protein found in plantar warts (F. Breitburd, O. Croissant, and G. Orth, Cancer Cells, vol. 5, in press; J. Doorbar, D. Campbell, R.J.A. Grand, and P.H. Gallimore, EMBO J. 5:355-362, 1986). Other transcripts had exons spanning the E6-E7 ORFs, the E4-E5-L2-L1 ORFs, or the L1 ORF. The infrequent L1 transcript, probably the mRNA coding for the major capsid protein, had the same 5' exon in E7 as the abundant mRNA spliced from E1 and E4 ORFs, suggesting genetic regulation via the choice of the alternative polyadenylation sites or mRNA processing.