Phosphomannose isomerase (PMI) is an essential enzyme in the early steps of the protein glycosylation pathway in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Lack of the enzyme is lethal for fungal organisms and it is thus a potential fungicidal target. To facilitate the solution of the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme from the pathogen Candida albicans, we have produced the recombinant selenomethionine-labelled enzyme (SeMet-PMI). DL41, a methionine auxotroph Escherichia coli strain, was transformed with a PMI expression plasmid and grown on an enriched selenomethionine-containing medium to high-cell densities. The SeMet-PMI protein has been purified and found by amino acid analysis to have its methionine residues replaced by selenomethionine residues. Electrospray mass spectroscopy showed a major species of 49,063 +/- 10 Da for SeMet-PMI compared to 48,735 +/- 6 Da for the normal recombinant enzyme, accounting for the incorporation of seven selenomethionine residues. SeMet-PMI crystallised isomorphously with the normal PMI protein and the crystals diffract to 0.23 nm. Kinetic characterisation of SeMet-PMI showed that its Km for the substrate mannose-6-phosphate was fourfold higher than that of its methionine-containing counterpart. The inhibition constant for zinc ions was also increased by a similar factor. However, the Vmax was unaltered. These results suggested that one or more methionine residues must be in close proximity to the substrate-binding pocket in the active site, rendering substrate access more difficult compared to the normal enzyme. This hypothesis was confirmed by the finding of four methionine residues lying along one wall of the active site.