Sindbis virus, an enveloped virus with a single-stranded RNA genome, was engineered to express a bacterial protein, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT), in cultured insect, avian, and mammalian cells. The vectors were self-replicating and gene expression was efficient and rapid; up to 10 8 CAT polypeptides were produced per infected cell in 16 to 20 hours. CAT expression could be made temperature-sensitive by means of a derivative that incorporated a temperature-sensitive mutation in viral RNA synthesis. Vector genomic RNAs were packaged into infectious particles when Sindbis helper virus was used to supply virion structural proteins. The vector RNAs were stable to at least seven cycles of infection. The expression of CAT increased about 103-fold, despite a 1015-fold dilution during the passaging. Sindbis virus vectors should prove useful for expressing large quantities of gene products in a variety of animal cells.