A cDNA clone, PoMTP, encoding a putative metzincin family metalloprotease was isolated from the expressed sequence tags of a basidiomycete Pleurotus ostreatus. The 5′-end sequence of PoMTP was determined by the 5′-RACE method. Full-length cDNA sequence (1140 bp) of PoMTP contained a 870 bp open reading frame encoding a protein product of 290 amino acids in addition to a 99 bp of 5′-untranslated sequence and a 171 bp of 3′-untranslated sequence with a poly(A) tail. The deduced amino-acid sequences of PoMTP contained an extensive zinc-binding consensus sequence and a so-called Met-turn sequence which are typical for the metzincin family of metalloproteases, indicating that the PoMTP protein belongs to the metzincin metalloproteases. Four cysteine residues were also observed in the zinc-binding region of PoMTP amino-acid sequence, which are known to be important for the structure and the function of some subfamilies of the metzincins. Comparison of the PoMTP in sequence database showed no significant homology with functionally known metalloproteases of Armillaria mellea, Grifola frondosa, Lentinula edodes, Pleurotus ostreatus, Schizophyllum commune and Tricholoma saponaceum in mushroom. Northern blot and qunatitative RT-PCR analyses indicated the PoMTP mRNA to be abundant at primordial and fruit body stages, but scarce at the mycelial stage, suggesting that the PoMTP metalloprotease plays an important role in mushroom fruiting.