The poly(A)(+) RNA of swimbladder gas gland cells of the European eel Anguilla anguilla was isolated and used for cDNA synthesis. Using a pair of degenerate PCR primers directed towards the evolutionary highly conserved central part of the B subunit of vacuolar type H(+)-ATPase (V-ATPase) a fragment of 388 bp was amplified. By sequencing the cloned PCR products two different amplicons with a sequence identity of about 86% were obtained. BLASTN searches revealed a high degree of similarity of both to V-ATPase B subunits of other species. The sequences were completed by performing rapid amplification of cDNA ends PCR, subsequent cloning, and sequencing of the obtained products. The expression of two different isoforms of the V-ATPase B subunit is already demonstrated for Homo sapiens and Bos taurus. This is the first report that attributes the same phenomenon to a non-mammalian species, A. anguilla. The first isoform found in eel (vatB2) shows the highest degree of amino acid sequence homology with the human brain isoform (98.2%), the second one (vatB1) with the B subunit sequence of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) gill and kidney (98, 6%). The alignment of the deduced amino acid sequences of vatB1 and vatB2 shows that the highest sequence variation between these two isoforms is found at the amino-terminus, where vatB1 is nine amino acids shorter than vatB2, while at the carboxy-terminus it is two amino acids longer than vatB2. This has also been reported for the human and bovine kidney isoforms when compared with the brain isoforms. Northern blot analysis using specific hybridization probes revealed the expression of two mRNA's with lengths of about 2.9 kb and 3.5 kb for vatB1 and vatB2, respectively. For mammals, it is well known that V-ATPases containing the kidney isoforms of the B subunit are responsible for the extrusion of protons across the plasma membranes of several cell types. The fact that eel vatB1 seems to share structural features with the kidney isoforms in mammals supports the hypothesis that in gas gland cells a V-ATPase contributes to the acidification of the blood in the swimbladder.