African swine fever virus (ASFV) is a large double-stranded DNA virus that replicates in discrete areas in the cytosol of infected cells called viral factories. Recent studies have shown that assembling virions acquire their internal envelopes through enwrapment by membranes derived from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). However, the mechanisms that underlie the formation of viral factories and progenitor viral membranes are as yet unclear. Analysis of the published genome of the virus revealed a conserved multigene family that encodes proteins with hydrophobic signal sequences, indicating possible translocation into the ER lumen. Strikingly, two of these genes, XP124L and Y118L, encoded proteins with KDEL-like ER retention motifs. Analysis of XP124L and Y118L gene product by biochemical and immunofluorescence techniques showed that the proteins were localized to pre-Golgi compartments and that the KEDL motif at the C terminus of pXP124L was functional. XP124L expression, in the absence of other ASFV genes, had a dramatic effect on the contents of the ER that was dependent precisely on the C-terminal sequence KEDL. The normal subcellular distribution of a number of proteins resident to this important, cellular organelle was drastically altered in cells expressing wild-type XP124L gene product. PXP124L formed unusual perinuclear structures that contained resident ER proteins, as well as proteins of the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment. The data presented here hint at a role for MGF110 gene product in preparing the ER for its role in viral morphogenesis; this and other potential functions are discussed.