Measles virus (MeV) is a highly contagious virus that still causes annual epidemics in developing countries despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Additionally, importation from endemic countries causes frequent outbreaks in countries where it has been eliminated. The M protein of MeV plays a key role in virus assembly and cytopathogenesis; interestingly, M is localised in nucleus, cytoplasm and membranes of infected cells. We have used transient expression of M in transfected cells and in-cell transcription assays to show that only some MeV M localizes to the nucleus, in addition to cell membranes and the cytoplasm as previously described, and can inhibit cellular transcription via binding to nuclear factors. Additionally, MeV M was able to inhibit in vitro transcription in a dose-dependent manner. Importantly, a proportion of M is also localized to nucleus of MeV infected cells at early times in infection, correlating with inhibition of cellular transcription. Our data show, for the first time, that MeV M may play a role early in infection by inhibiting host cell transcription.