Full length cDNAs encoding two acetylcholinesterases (AChEs; Bgace1 and Bgace2) were cloned and characterized from the German cockroach, Blattella germanica. Sequence analyses showed that both genes possess all the typical features of ace, and that Bgace1 is orthologous to the insect ace1 whereas Bgace2 is to the insect ace2. Transcript level of Bgace1 was significantly higher (c. 10 fold) than that of Bgace2 in all 11 tissues examined, suggesting that Bgace1 likely encodes a predominant AChE. Multiple AChE bands were identified by native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and isoelectricfocusing from various tissue preparations, among which ganglia produced distinct two major and two minor AChE bands, indicative of the presence of at least two active AChEs. B. germanica AChEs appeared to be mainly localized in the central nervous system as demonstrated by histochemical activity staining, together with quantitative analysis of Bgace transcripts. Fluorescence in situ hybridization of the 1st thoracic ganglion confirmed that Bgace1 is predominantly transcribed and further showed that its transcript is found in almost entire region of inter or motor neurones including the cell bodies and axonal/dendritic branches. Bgace2 transcript is found only in the subset of neurones, particularly in the cell body. In addition, certain neurones were observed to express Bgace1 only.