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Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is a zinc-containing dipeptidyl carboxypeptidase that catalyzes the conversion of angiotensin I to the potent vasoconstrictor angiotensin II. By analyzing cDNA and genomic DNA, we have constructed a consensus sequence encoding the testis isozyme of mouse ACE. Testis ACE cDNA contains 2,435 base pairs and encodes a protein of 732 amino acids. The N-terminal 66 amino acids are unique to the testis isozyme, while the remaining 666 are identical to the carboxyl half of mouse somatic ACE. The overall conservation of amino acid sequence between the testis isozymes of the mouse, rabbit, and human is 78 to 84%. The conservation of amino acids for the N-terminal domain uniquely expressed within the testis is 63 to 67% between these species. Primer extension and RNase protection experiments show that RNA transcription of the testis ACE isozyme begins 16 or 17 bases upstream from the translation start site. A sequence element resembling a TATA box is found 25 bases 5' of the transcription start site. To create its unique isozyme of ACE, the testis begins mRNA transcription in the middle of the exonic-intronic structure of somatic ACE, within a sequence treated as an intron by somatic tissues. Testis ACE is not the result of alternative RNA splicing but seems due to the start of transcription at a unique site within the ACE gene.