Resistance to ivermectin and related drugs is an increasing problem for parasite control. The mechanism of ivermectin resistance in nematode parasites is currently unknown. Some P-glycoproteins and multidrug resistance proteins have been found to act as membrane transporters which pump drugs from the cell. A disruption of the mdrla gene, which encodes a P-glycoprotein in mice, results in hypersensitivity to ivermectin. Genes encoding members of the P-glycoprotein family are known to exist in nematodes but the involvement of P-glycoprotein in nematode ivermectin-resistance has not been described. Our data suggest that a P-glycoprotein may play a role in ivermectin resistance in the sheep nematode parasite Haemonchus contortus. A full length P-glycoprotein cDNA from H. contortus has been cloned and sequenced. Analysis of the sequence showed 61-65% homology to other P-glycoprotein/multidrug resistant protein sequences, such as mice, human and Caenorhabditis elegans. Expression of P-glycoprotein mRNA was higher in ivermectin-selected than unselected strains of H. contortus. An alteration in the restriction pattern was also found for the genomic locus of P-glycoprotein derived from ivermectin-selected strains of H. contortus compared with unselected strains. P-glycoprotein gene structure and/or its transcription are altered in ivermectin-selected H. contortus. The multidrug resistance reversing agent, verapamil, increased the efficacy of ivermectin and moxidectin against a moxidectin-selected strain of this nematode in jirds (Meriones unguiculatus). These data indicate that a P-glycoprotein may be involved in resistance to ivermectin and other macrocyclic lactones in H. contortus.