Institut fur Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung (IPK), Corrensstr. 3, D-06466 Gatersleben, Germany. A complex mixture of fatty acid-derived aldehydes, ketones, and alcohols is released upon wounding of the moss Physcomitrella patens. To investigate the formation of these oxylipins at the molecular level we isolated a lipoxygenase from P. patens, which was identified in an EST library by sequence homology to lipoxygenases from plants. Sequence analysis of the cDNA showed that it exhibits a domain structure similar to that of type2 lipoxygenases from plants, harboring an N-terminal import signal for chloroplasts. The recombinant protein was identified as arachidonate 12-lipoxygenase and linoleate 13-lipoxygenase with a preference for arachidonic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid. In contrast to any other lipoxygenase cloned so far, this enzyme exhibited in addition an unusual high hydroperoxidase and also a fatty acid chain-cleaving lyase activity. Because of these unique features the pronounced formation of (2Z)-octen-1-ol, 1-octen-3-ol, the dienal (5Z,8Z,10E)-12-oxo-dodecatrienoic acid and 12-keto eicosatetraenoic acid was observed when arachidonic acid was administered as substrate. 12-Hydroperoxy eicosatetraenoic acid was found to be only a minor product. Moreover, the P. patens LOX has a relaxed substrate tolerance accepting C(18)-C(22) fatty acids giving rise to even more LOX-derived products. In contrast to other lipoxygenases a highly diverse product spectrum is formed by a single enzyme accounting for most of the observed oxylipins produced by the moss. This single enzyme might, in a fast and effective way, be involved in the formation of signal and/or defense molecules thus contributing to the broad resistance of mosses against pathogens.