Histoplasma capsulatum produces an extracellular catalase termed M antigen, which is similar to catalase B of Aspergillus and Emericella species. Evidence is presented here for two additional catalase isozymes in H. capsulatum. Catalase A is highly similar to a large-subunit catalase in Aspergillus and Emericella species, while catalase P is a small-subunit catalase protein with greatest similarity to known peroxisomal catalases of animals and Saccharomycotina yeasts. Complete cDNAs for the CATA and CATP genes (encoding catalases A and P, respectively) were isolated. The transcriptional expression of the H. capsulatum CATA, CATB (M antigen) and CATP genes was assessed by Northern blot hybridizations on total RNA. Results at the transcript levels for these genes are shown for three conditions: cell morphology (mycelial versus yeast phase cells), oxidative stress (in response to a challenge with H(2)O(2)) and carbon source (glucose vs glycerol). Collectively, these results demonstrated regulation of CATA by both cell morphology and oxidative stress, but not by carbon source, and regulation of CATB and CATP by carbon source but not cell morphology or oxidative stress. A phylogenetic analysis of presently available catalase sequences and intron residences was done. The results support a model for evolution of eukaryotic monofunctional catalase genes from prokaryotic genes.