A cDNA from Arabidopsis thaliana similar to microbial photolyase genes, and designated AT-PHH1, was isolated using a photolyase-like cDNA from Sinapsis alba (SA-PHR1) as a probe. Multiple isolations yielded only PHH1 cDNAs, and a few blue-light-receptor CRY1 (HY4) cDNAs (also similar to microbial photolyase genes), suggesting the absence of any other highly similar Arabidopsis genes. The AT-PHH1 and SA-PHR1 cDNA sequences predict 89% identity at the protein level, except for an AT-PHH1 C-terminal extension (111 amino acids), also not seen in microbial photolyases. AT-PHH1 and CRY1 show less similarity (54% p4erein identity), including respective C-terminal extensions that are themselves mostly dissimilar. Analysis of fifteen AT-PHH1 genomic isolates reveals a single gene, with three introns in the coding sequence and one in the 5'-untranslated leader. Full-length AT-PHH1, and both AT-PHH1 and AT-PHH1 delta C-513 (truncated to be approximately the size of microbial photolyase genes) cDNAs, were overexpressed, respectively, in yeast and Escherichia coli mutants hypersensitive to ultraviolet light. The absence of significant effects on resistance suggests either that any putative AT-PHH1 DNA repair activity requires cofactors/chromophores not present in yeast or E. coli, or that AT-PHH1 encodes a blue-light/ultraviolet-A receptor rather than a DNA repair protein.