Ovine adenovirus OAV287 was previously isolated from sheep in Western Australia. As a first step in characterizing the genome of this virus we have determined the sequence of its genome between map units 65 and 81. This region was expected to contain the nonessential E3 region which, in other adenoviruses, lies between the genes encoding the pVIII and fiber proteins, although its size and complexity varies. OAV287 genes coding for the hexon assembly, 33K, pVIII, and fiber proteins were identified by their homologies with human Ad2. These genes lie in the same relative positions in the OAV287 genome, but the intergenic region between the pVIII and the fiber genes is only 197 nucleotides and these appear to be incapable of coding for any protein. Thus, the ovine adenovirus E3 region is not present in the expected location. In addition, using cDNA synthesis, PCR amplification, and nucleotide sequencing we determined the location of splice junctions and transcription termination signals in mRNA species encoding these proteins. This showed that a family of variably spliced L4 RNAs is produced and that the region between the pVIII and the fiber genes contains several signals for RNA synthesis and processing. As the E3 region in human adenoviruses is nonessential for replication, in many instances it has been replaced with foreign DNA during the construction of recombinants. Because of this unexpected difference in the organization of the OAV287 genome further experimentation will be required to determine whether potential vaccine recombinants can be constructed for this adenovirus by making insertions into the pVIII/fiber intergenic region.