Various plant isoprenoids are synthesized via the non-mevalonate pathway of isopentenyl diphosphate formation. In this pathway, 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate (DOXP), the first intermediate, is transformed to 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 4-phosphate (MEP) by an enzyme which was recently cloned from Escherichia coli. In order to find a plant homologue of this 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR) we cloned a cDNA fragment from Arabidopsis thaliana which has high homology to the E. coli DXR. By expression of this fragment in E. coli we could demonstrate that it encodes a protein which transforms DOXP to MEP. The antibiotic fosmidomycin specifically inhibits this DXR enzyme activity.