Two genes encode (1----3, 1----4)-beta-glucan 4-glucanohydrolase (EC 18.104.22.168) isoenzymes in barley. A gene for isoenzyme EI has been isolated from a barley genomic library and the nucleotide sequence of a 4643 bp fragment determined. The gene is located on barley chromosome 5 while the gene for (1----3, 1----4)-beta-glucanase isoenzyme EII is carried on chromosome 1. The isoenzyme EI gene contains a single 2514 bp intron that is inserted in codon 25 of a sequence encoding a signal peptide of 28 amino acids. The coding region of the mature enzyme is characterized by a high G+C content, which results from an extreme bias towards the use of these nucleotides in the wobble base position of codons. Determination of the nucleotide sequence of the gene has enabled the complete primary structure of the enzyme to be deduced: isoenzyme EI shows 92% positional identity with the primary sequence of (1----3, 1----4)-beta-glucanase isoenzyme EII at both the nucleotide and amino acid level. However, the nucleotide sequences of the two genes diverge markedly in their 3' untranslated regions. Expression sites of the two genes were defined by Northern analysis using oligonucleotide probes specific for these 3' untranslated regions and by amplifying specific cDNAs through the polymerase chain reaction. In the tissues examined, transcription of the isoenzyme EII gene is restricted to the aleurone layer of germinated grain. In contrast, the gene for isoenzyme EI is transcribed at relatively high levels in young leaves, but also in the scutellum and aleurone of germinated grain.