Endogenous yolk nutrients are crucial for embryo and larval development in fish, but developmental behavior of the genes that control yolk utilization remains unknown. Apolipoproteins have been shown to play important roles in lipid transport and uptake through the circulation system. In this study, EcApoC-I, the first cloned ApoC-I in teleosts, has been screened from pituitary cDNA library of female orange-spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides), and the deduced amino acid sequence shows 43.5% identity to one zebrafish (Danio rerio) hypothetical protein similar to ApoC-I, and 21.2%, 21.7%, 22.5%, 20%, and 22.5% identities to Apo C-I of human (Homo sapiens), house mouse (Mus musculus), common tree shrew (Tupaia glis), dog (Canis lupus familiaris) and hamadryas baboon (Papio hamadryas), respectively. Although the sequence identity is low, amphipathic alpha-helices with the potential to bind to lipid were predicted to exist in the EcApoC-I. RT-PCR analysis revealed that it was first transcribed in gastrula embryos and maintained a relatively stable expression level during the following embryogenesis. During embryonic and early larval development, a very high level of EcApoC-I expression was in the yolk syncytial layer, indicating that it plays a significant role in yolk degradation and transfers nutrition to the embryo and early larva. By the day 7 after hatching, EcApoC-I transcripts were observed in brain. In adult, EcApoC-I mRNA was detected abundantly in brain and gonad. In transitional gonads, the EcApoC-I expression is restricted to the germ cells. The data suggested that EcApoC-I might play an important role in brain and gonad morphogenesis and growth.