The primary structure of the cDNA and metallothionein (MT) genomic sequences of the tropical green mussel (Perna viridis) was determined. The complete cDNA sequences were obtained using degenerate primers designed from known metallothionein consensus amino acid sequences from the temperate species Mytilus edulis. The amino acid sequences of P. viridis metallothionein deduced from the coding region consisted of 72 amino acids with 21 cysteine residues and 9 Cys-X-Cys motifs corresponding to Type I MT class of other species. Two different genomic sequences coding for the same mRNA were obtained. Each putative gene contained a unique 5'UTR and two unique introns located at the same splice sites. The promoters for both genes were different in length and both contained metal responsive elements and active protein-binding sites. The structures of the genomic clones were compared with those of other species. J. Exp. Zool. 284:445-453, 1999.