The polymerase chain reaction analysis of potato plants, transformed with capsanthin capsorubin synthase ccs, revealed the presence of a highly related gene. The cloned cDNA showed at the protein level 89.6% identity to CCS. This suggested that the novel enzyme catalyzes a mechanistically similar reaction. Such a reaction is represented by neoxanthin synthase (NXS), forming the xanthophyll neoxanthin, a direct substrate for abscisic acid formation. The function of the novel enzyme could be proven by transient expression in plant protoplasts and high performance liquid chromatography analysis. The cloned NXS was imported in vitro into plastids, the compartment of carotenoid biosynthesis.