We have studied the splicing pathway leading to the synthesis of cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COX I) mRNA, by analysing the transcription pattern of several oxi3- splicing deficient mutants located in the first four introns of the gene. The four introns contain long open reading frames (ORFs) in phase with the upstream exons. All the mutations block the excision of the mutated intervening sequence (IVS) from the pre-mRNA, and accumulate characteristic novel polypeptides of sizes which could correspond to the translation products of the intron's ORF. Most of the mutations do not affect the splicing of the following intervening sequences; only in the case of mutations in the aI1 intron is a polar effect observed on the splicing of the second intron, aI2. Our results indicate that the splicing of these two intervening sequences which both belong to the class II of introns described by Michel et al. (1982), is controlled by the activity of the maturases encoded by their respective ORFs and that the translation of the aI2 maturase depends on the previous excision of aI1 IVS. (Moreover, the aI1 maturase, which accumulates in some mutants, can efficiently splice aI2 IVS when the translation of the latter's proper maturase cannot occur).