A cDNA clone encoding cholesterol side-chain cleavage cytochrome P450 (P450scc) was isolated from a rainbow trout ovarian follicle cDNA library. The cDNA contains an open reading frame of 1,542 nucleotides encoding a protein of 514 amino acids. The predicted amino acid sequence of trout P450scc shows 48% homology with that of human, and 46% homology with that of rat, bovine and pig. P450scc activity was confirmed by transfected COS-1 monkey kidney tumour cells with an expression vector for trout P450scc cDNA and subsequent detection of conversion from 25-hydroxycholesterol to pregnenolone by radioimmunoassay. The cDNA only hybridized to a single 1.8 kb RNA transcript. The transcript was not found in early vitellogenic follicles, barely detected in postvitellogenic follicles, and abundant in postovulatory follicles.