We have localized ten oxi3- mutations in the first, al1, intron of the coxl gene. All are splicing deficient, being unable to excise the intron. Complementation experiments disclose several domains in the intron al1: the 5'-proximal and 3'-proximal domains harbor cis-dominant mutations, while trans-recessive ones are located in the intron's open reading frame. Comprehensive analyses of allele-specific polypeptides accumulating in mutants show that they result from the translation of the intron's ORF. We conclude that a specific mRNA maturase involved in splicing of oxidase mRNA is encoded by the intron al1 in a manner similar to the cytochrome b mRNA maturase.