Summary: A cDNA library was constructed in λgt11 using mRNA from 11-d-old mycelium of Three clones containing laccase sequence were identified using an affinity-purified anti-laccase antibody. From one of these clones, a 333 bp sequence was used to identify further cDNA clones (including one which is close to full length) and a genomic clone. The coding sequences found were of two similar but not identical versions with differences at 36 out of 520 residues of deduced amino acid sequence. The laccase genes each encode a sequence expressed as a 2.3 kb mRNA, specifying a 520 residue polypeptide including a 19 amino acid residue signal peptide that is absent from the N terminus of the mature (extracellular) protein. The coding sequence of 1 is interrupted by 14 short introns. The 1 and 2 genes are not allelic as they do not segregate in uninucleate spores derived from a four-spored basidium. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequences with that of the other fungal laccases that have been cloned, and with the very similar ascorbate oxidases from higher plants shows that whilst some sequence is absolutely conserved at and around the amino acid residues involved in copper binding, the overall sequence similarities are low.


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