Abstract Tyrosinase (monophenol, L-DOPA: oxygen oxidoreductase, EC 126.96.36.199), a kind of copper-containing phenoloxidase, arouses great interests of scientists for its important role in periostracum formation. A cDNA clone encoding a putative tyrosinase, termed OT47 because of its estimated molecular mass of 47 kDa, was isolated from the pearl oyster, Pinctada fucata. This novel tyrosinase shares similarity with the cephalopod tyrosinases and other type 3 copper proteins within two conserved copper-binding sites. RT-PCR analysis showed that OT47 mRNA was expressed only in the mantle edge. Further in situ hybridization analysis and tyrosinase activity staining revealed that OT47 was expressed at the outer epithelial cells of the middle fold, different from early histological results in Mercenaria mercenaria, suggesting a different model of periostracum secretion in P. fucata. Taken together, these results suggest that OT47 is most likely involved in periostracum formation. The identification and characterization of oyster tyrosinase also help to further understand the structural and functional properties of molluscan tyrosinase.