The portion of the pheromone 3 (Phr3)-encoding gene (phr3) of Euplotes octocarinatus, corresponding to secreted Phr3 was isolated using the polymerase chain reaction and oligodeoxyribonucleotide primers flanking the Phr3-encoding cDNA. Unexpectedly, the sequence analysis revealed that this gene is interrupted by two introns with lengths of 63 bp and 72 bp. These introns belong to the class of nuclear pre-mRNA introns and contain typical 5′- and 3′-consensus sequences, as well as unique features. Our findings constitute the first example of introns in any Euplotes species and the first case of multiple introns in hypotrichous ciliates. In ciliates such as Euplotes, the macronucleus is the transcriptionally active nucleus. It develops from a micronucleus in a process which involves chromosome breakage and the elimination of up to 95% of the micronuclear genome. The existence of the introns in the macronuclear version of phr3 shows that, in spite of this extensive elimination, some noncoding sequences are nevertheless retained in the macronucleus of hypotrichous ciliates. It was recently discovered by Meyer et al. [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 88 (1991) 3758-3761] that the Phr3-encoding cDNA contains three in frame TGA triplets coding for cysteine. The genomic sequence of phr3 confirms this finding. © 1991.
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