The mating type locus (MAT1) of Magnaporthe oryzae has similar structural organization to MAT in other ascomycetes and encodes the mating type genes MAT1-1-1 with an alpha-box motif and MAT1-2-1 with an HMG-box motif in the MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 idiomorphs, respectively. Sequence and expression analyses of the MAT1 locus indicated a second open reading frame (ORF), MAT1-1-2, in the MAT1-1 idiomorph, and novel mating-type dependent ORFs (MAT1-1-3 and MAT1-2-2) at the locus. The MAT1-1-3 ORF initiated within the MAT1-1 idiomorph while the MAT1-2-2 ORF initiated at the border of the MAT1-2 idiomorph with both ORFs sharing most of their reading frames in the MAT1 flanking region. This suggests that the encoded proteins (MAT1-1-3 and MAT1-2-2) should be similar in their primary structures but can be distinguished by distinct N-termini with amino acids of 1 and 32, respectively, in each mating type. A CT dinucleotide repeat, (CT)n, present in the upstream region of MAT1-1-3, was polymorphic among the isolates.