The expression of the cloned Saccharomyces cerevisiae URA3 gene in Escherichia coli on both plasmid and phage vectors was studied. Isolates of the gene from two different laboratory strains of yeast differ in their ability to be expressed in E. coli in the absence of external adjacent promoters of transcription. The DNA sequence of the two genes was determined and revealed several differences in the DNA flanking the structural gene. One base change alters the "Pribnow-box" of an E. coli promoter present in the yeast sequences. Three amber alleles of the yeast gene were also cloned from yeast. Two of the alleles could be suppressed in E. coli by a tRNA suppressor mutation. One of the amber alleles was determined to be a mutation in the seventh codon of the structural gene, thereby establishing the reading frame and extent of the coding sequence. The initiator codon of the reading frame encoding the URA3 structural gene is preceded by two other ATG codons in a different reading frame 61 and 79 bp away. The nearer ATG begins an open reading frame that overlaps the structural gene sequences by 17 bp. With the DNA sequence of the URA3 gene many of the common yeast vector plasmids are now completely known at the level of DNA sequence.