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Only four prp (pre-mRNA processing) genes of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe have been reported. We exploited yeast genetics and identified and isolated the prp4 gene. Sequence analysis revealed that the splicing factor encoded by this gene contains the signature sequences that define the serine/threonine protein kinase family. This is the first kinase gene identified whose product is involved in pre-mRNA splicing. The prp4 gene contains one intron in the kinase domain. Gene replacement studies provided evidence that this gene is essential for growth and is located on chromosome III.