To define the cis-acting sequences necessary for gene expression and DNA replication in trypanosomatids, we have developed a selectable vector that can be grown in Escherichia coli and maintained stably in the insect trypanosomatid Leptomonas seymouri. The vector is relatively small (6 kilobase pairs) and contains a portion of the L. seymouri alpha-tubulin gene positioned in-frame with a truncated neomycin phosphotransferase gene that confers resistance to the aminoglycoside G418. This construct is maintained in cells as a high-copy-number circular extrachromosomal element containing several head-to-tail copies of the transforming plasmid. In L. seymouri, alpha-tubulin-neomycin phosphotransferase fusion RNAs are polyadenylylated and possess a trans-spliced mini-exon. Additional DNA sequences can be inserted into the vector, propagated, and expressed in transformed cells.