The DNA fragment encoding meta-cleavage enzymes and the meta-cleavage compound hydrolase, involved in carbazole degradation, was cloned from the carbazole-utilizing bacterium Pseudomonas sp. strain CA10. DNA sequence analysis of this 2.6-kb SmaI-SphI fragment revealed that there were three open reading frames (ORF1, ORF2, and ORF3, in this gene order). ORF1 and ORF2 were indispensable for meta-cleavage activity for 2'-aminobiphenyl-2,3-diol and its easily available analog, 2,3-dihydroxybiphenyl, and were designated carBa and carBb, respectively. The alignment of CarBb with other meta-cleavage enzymes indicated that CarBb may have a non-heme iron cofactor coordinating site. On the basis of the phylogenetic tree, CarBb was classified as a member of the protocatechuate 4,5-dioxygenase family. This unique extradiol dioxygenase, CarB, had significantly higher affinity and about 20-times-higher meta-cleavage activity for 2,3-dihydroxybiphenyl than for catechol derivatives. The putative polypeptide encoded by ORF3 was homologous with meta-cleavage compound hydrolases in other bacteria, and ORF3 was designated carC. The hydrolase activity of CarC for 2-hydroxy-6-oxo-6-phenylhexa-2,4-dienoic acid, the meta-cleavage compound of 2,3-dihydroxybiphenyl, was 40 times higher than that for 2-hydroxy-6-oxohepta-2,4-dienoic acid, the meta-cleavage compound of 3-methylcatechol. Alignment analysis and the phylogenetic tree indicate that CarC has greatest homologies with hydrolases involved in the monoaromatic compound degradation pathway. These results suggest the possibility that CarC is a novel type of hydrolase.