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A full cDNA encoding an acetylcholinesterase (AChE, EC 22.214.171.124) was cloned and characterized from the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens Stål (Hemiptera: Delphacidae). The complete cDNA (2467 bp) contains a 1938-bp open reading frame encoding 646 amino acid residues. The amino acid sequence of the AChE deduced from the cDNA consists of 30 residues for a putative signal peptide and 616 residues for the mature protein with a predicted molecular weight of 69,418. The three residues (Ser242, Glu371, and His485) that putatively form the catalytic triad and the six Cys that form intra-subunit disulfide bonds are completely conserved, and 10 out of the 14 aromatic residues lining the active site gorge of the AChE are also conserved. Northern blot analysis of poly(A) RNA showed an approximately 2.6-kb transcript, and Southern blot analysis revealed there likely was just a single copy of this gene in N. lugens. The deduced protein sequence is most similar to AChE of Nephotettix cincticeps with 83% amino acid identity. Phylogenetic analysis constructed with 45 AChEs from 30 species showed that the deduced N. lugens AChE formed a cluster with the other 8 insect AChE2s. Additionally, the hypervariable region and amino acids specific to insect AChE2 also existed in the AChE of N. lugens. The results revealed that the AChE cDNA cloned in this work belongs to insect AChE2 subgroup, which is orthologous to Drosophila AChE. Comparison of the AChEs between the susceptible and resistant strains revealed a point mutation, Gly185Ser, is likely responsible for the insensitivity of the AChE to methamidopho in the resistant strain.