A short sequence of predominantly basic amino acids Pro-Pro-Lys-Lys-Lys-Arg-Lys-Val from SV40 Large T is responsible for the normal nuclear location of the protein. Alteration of Lys-128 to each of six different residues other than Arg renders Large T cytoplasmic, whereas single amino acid changes in the surrounding region impair but do not prevent nuclear accumulation. When transposed to the amino terminus of cytoplasmic Large T species, or Escherichia coli $\beta $-galactosidase or of chicken muscle pyruvate kinase, the sequence around Lys-128 of Large T is able to direct the recipient protein to the nucleus. This demonstrates that these amino acids can be sufficient for nuclear location and can act as a nuclear location signal. A computer search of over 2500 proteins reveals that some other nuclear proteins (for example, BK virus Large T, SV40 VP2 and adenovirus 72kDa DNA binding protein) contain very similar basic tracts, but so too do some presumed non-nuclear proteins (for example, poliovirus VP3). We suggest that the related sequence acts as the nuclear location signal in the other nuclear proteins but that the sequence does not function in all cases, perhaps because it is not accessible. A similar, but shorter or less basic sequence, was detected in a number of other nuclear proteins, for example, polyoma virus Large T, SV40 VP1 and several histones. However, such sequences were also found in many other proteins. Perhaps the shorter basic sequences can also act as nuclear location signals, but to be functional they need to be exposed (for example, at the amino terminus of the protein as in SV40 VP1) or to be present in multiple copies.