Isolates of 2 microsporidian species from the genus Encephalitozoon (E. cuniculi and E. hellem) were compared by analysis of DNA amplified from a gene region encoding the repeat domain of a polar tube protein (PTP1). Sequence data obtained for 11 E. cuniculi isolates from 5 different mammalian hosts well support the existence of 3 previously designated strains. Strain type III was characterized by a lack of a 78 bp repeat, producing an amplicon of reduced size. Strain type II differed from strain type I by 3 nucleotide substitutions so that AvalI digestion of the corresponding PCR products provided distinct restriction patterns. Surprisingly, the comparison of 2 human isolates of E. hellem belonging to the same rDNA ITS genotype shows a high level of heterogeneity through numerous point mutations and variation in PTP1 repeat number. Further characterization of additional E. hellem isolates based on PTP1 sequence polymorphisms should be of interest for tracing sources of infection.