We have previously reported the isolation of a gene from a soybean cDNA library encoding a Ypt/Rab-related small GTP-binding protein, Sypt. Here, we report the isolation of a second Ypt/Rab-related gene, designated Srab2, from the same soybean cDNA library. And we compare the in vivo function of the two soybean genes utilizing a yeast ypt1-1 mutant. The Srab2 gene encodes 211 amino acid residues with a molecular mass of 23 169 Da. The deduced amino acid sequence of the Srab2 is closely related to the rat (76%) and human (75%) Rab2 proteins, but it shares relatively little homology to Sypt (46%) and Saccharomyces cerevisiae ypt proteins (41%). Genomic Southern blot analysis using the cDNA insert of Srab2 revealed that it belongs to a multigene family in the soybean genome. The protein encoded by Srab2 gene, when expressed in Escherichia coli, disclosed a GTP-binding activity. The expression pattern of the Srab2 gene is quite different from that of the Sypt gene. The Srab2 gene is predominantly expressed in the plumule region, while expression was very low in the other areas in soybean seedlings. On the other hand, the Sypt mRNA is not detectable in any tissues of soybean seedlings grown in the dark. However, light significantly suppressed the Srab2 gene expression, but enhanced the transcript levels of the Sypt gene in leaf and, at even higher levels, in root tissues. When the Srab2 and Sypt genes are introduced separately into a S cerevisiae defective in vesicular transport function, the Srab2 gene cannot complement the temperature-sensitive yeast ypt1-1 mutation at all, in contrast to the Sypt gene. In conclusion, the difference of functional complementation of the yeast mutation together with differential expression of the two genes suggest that the in vivo roles of the Srab2 and Sypt genes may be different in soybean cells.