The sequences of the human and bovine genes for the phosphate carrier from the inner membranes of mitochondria have been determined. The genes have similar structures and each is divided into nine exons. In both genes, two exons, named IIIA and IIIB, are closely related, and they appear to the alternatively spliced. The human exon IIIB sequence is found in a published human heart cDNA sequence, and bovine exon IIIA forms part of a published bovine heart cDNA sequence. By further examination of the human heart cDNA library, sequences arising from both alternatively spliced forms of the phosphate carrier have been characterized. Both forms were also found in several bovine tissues, but the ratios of expression of the two forms varied. The form containing exon IIIA was expressed most highly in bovine heart and liver, less highly in brain and kidney, and only in low amounts in lung. The opposite hierarchy was found for the form containing exon IIIB; it was most highly expressed in lung and least in heart and liver. The alternative splicing mechanism affects amino acids 4-45 of the mature phosphate carrier protein, which is believed to form one of six transmembrane segments of the phosphate carrier and to emerge into a large extramembranous loop. The alternative splicing mechanism changes 13 and 11 amino acids in the human and bovine carrier proteins, respectively. As the function of this region of the phosphate carrier is not known, the effects of the changes on carrier function are not understood at present.