Eleocharis vivipara, a unique leafless amphibious sedge, adopts the C4 mode of photosynthesis under terrestrial conditions and the C3 mode under submerged aquatic conditions. To analyze the molecular basis of these responses to the contrasting environments, we isolated and characterized two full-length cDNAs for a key C4 enzyme, pyruvate, orthophosphate dikinase (PPDK; EC 220.127.116.11). The isogenes for PPDK, designated ppdk1 and ppdk2, were highly homologous to one another but not identical. The PPDK1 protein, deduced from the nucleotide sequence of the cDNA, contained an extra domain at the amino terminus which, presumably, serves as a chloroplast transit peptide, while PPDK2 lacked this extra domain. It seems likely, therefore, that the ppdk1 and ppdk2 genes encode a chloroplastic and a cytosolic PPDK, respectively. Genomic Southern blot analysis revealed the existence of a small family of genes for PPDK in the genome of E. vivipara. Northern blot analysis indicate that both chloroplastic and cytosolic genes for PPDK are expressed simultaneously in the culms, a photosynthetic organ, of E. vivipara and that the pattern of expression of these genes differs between the growth forms.