Previously we found lipase activity with characteristics similar to lipoprotein lipase (LPL) in tissues from rainbow trout [Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1255 (1995) 205], whereas no equivalent to the related hepatic lipase could be found. An equivalent to apolipoprotein CII was also identified and characterized [Gene 254 (2000) 189]. We present here the full nucleotide sequence for LPL from rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and have investigated some properties of the enzyme. In contrast to what has been found in mammals, LPL mRNA was expressed in livers of adult trout. This indicates that trout LPL carries out functions that hepatic lipase has evolved to take over in mammals. Trout LPL was unstable at 37 degrees C compared with bovine and human LPL. Two sequence differences that may relate to the instability are that trout LPL lacks the disulfide bridge in the C-terminal domain and lacks Pro(258). This residue is conserved in LPL from all mammals and has been shown to be critical for enzyme stability at 37 degrees C. On chromatography on heparin-Sepharose trout and chicken LPL eluted at higher salt concentration than bovine (or other mammalian) LPL. The C-terminal end of LPL has been implied in heparin binding and the higher heparin affinity of the trout and chicken enzymes may be because they have 17 and 15 extra amino acid residues at the C-terminal end, of which three residues are positively charged.