Catalase is an antioxidant enzyme that plays a central role in the protection against oxidative stress through the metabolism of hydrogen peroxide. Catalase has been well studied in plants, bacteria, and mammals, but little work has been done in other vertebrate species. We have cloned the zebrafish (Danio rerio) catalase cDNA containing the complete coding region and analyzed expression by both reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and western blot. The deduced amino acid sequence predicts a protein of 526 amino acids with both the primary DNA and amino acid sequences highly conserved among vertebrate species. The major protein-heme contact points in the catalase enzyme complex are also well conserved, although several amino acids associated with the second and third levels of the major substrate channel are not, suggesting potential differences in substrate access or specificity. The 3' flanking region of the cDNA contains a dinucleotide repeat near the termination codon consisting of a near perfect CA array that is polymorphic. The rat and mouse catalase genes also contain a CA repeat sequence in the 3' untranslated region, which, along with an adjacent 5' stem-loop structure, has previously been shown to be a site for mRNA protein binding (Clerch, 1995, Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 317 (1995) 267-274). A stem-loop structure is also predicted adjacent to the zebrafish CA repeat, suggesting a similar role in catalase gene regulation.