The PUT1 gene was isolated by functional complementation of a put1 (proline oxidase-deficient) mutation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Three independent clones with overlapping inserts of 6.8, 10.5, and 11 kilobases (kb) were isolated from S. cerevisiae genomic libraries in YEp24 (2 micron) and YCp50 (CEN) plasmids. The identity of the PUT1 gene was determined by a gene disruption technique, and Southern hybridization and genetic analyses confirmed that the bona fide gene had been cloned. Plasmids containing the PUT1 gene restored regulated levels of proline oxidase activity to put1 recipient strains. The PUT1 DNA was present in a single copy in the yeast genome and encoded a transcript of ca. 1.5 kb. S1 nuclease protection experiments were used to determine the direction of transcription of the PUT1 message and to localize its 5' and 3' termini within a subcloned 3-kb DNA fragment. Approximately 50-fold more PUT1-specific mRNA was detected in induced (proline-grown) cells than in uninduced (ammonia-grown) cells. A yeast strain carrying the previously identified put3 regulatory mutation that caused constitutive levels of proline oxidase activity was found to have sevenfold elevated PUT1 mRNA levels under noninducing conditions. The absence of a functional electron transport system in vegetative petite (rho-) strains interfered with their ability to use proline as a nitrogen source. Although these strains were Put- and made no detectable proline oxidase activity, PUT1 message was detected under inducing conditions. The PUT1 gene was mapped distal to the GAL2 gene on chromosome XII by tetrad analysis.