gamma-Hexachlorocyclohexane (gamma-HCH; also called BHC or lindane) is one of the highly chlorinated pesticides which can cause serious environmental problems. Sphingomonas paucimobilis UT26 degrades gamma-HCH under aerobic conditions. The unique degradation pathway of gamma-HCH in UT26 is revealed. In the upstream pathway, gamma-HCH is transformed to 2,5-dichlorohydroquinone (2,5-DCHQ) by two different dehalogenases (LinA and LinB) and one dehydrogenase (LinC) which are expressed constitutively. In the downstream pathway, 2,5-DCHQ is reductively dehalogenated, and then ring-cleaved by enzymes (LinD and LinE, respectively) whose expressions are regulated. We have cloned and sequenced five structural genes (linA, linB, linC, linD, and linE) directly involved in this degradation pathway. The linD and linE genes form an operon, and its expression is positively regulated by the LysR-type transcriptional regulator (LinR). The genes linA, linB, and linC are constitutively expressed, and are present separately from each other in the UT26 genome. Cell fractionation analysis, Western blotting, and immuno electron microscopy revealed that LinA and LinB are localized in the periplasmic space of UT26.