Degenerate primers for two regions of sequence homology in the myosin head domain were used in a polymerase chain reaction screen of Tetrahymena thermophila genomic DNA to amplify a 765 bp fragment that was cloned and sequenced. Based on the presence of conserved, myosin-specific sequences, the 765 bp PCR product was identified as a fragment of a myosin gene, the first to be discovered in ciliated protozoa and herein referred to as MYO1. An inverse polymerase chain reaction strategy was used to obtain additional sequence data that included the entire head domain of MYO1. Alignment of the predicted amino acid sequence of the MYO1 head domain with known myosin sequences identified the ATP-binding site, a phosphorylation site, and other myosin-specific consensus regions. In a northern blot analysis, a 765 bp MYO1-specific probe detected a 6.6 kb transcript under highly stringent hybridization conditions. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the predicted protein encoded by MYO1 is not a member of any of the previously defined myosin classes and therefore represents a presumptive new myosin class.