Serine biosynthesis in plants proceeds by two pathways; a photorespiratory pathway which is associated with photorespiration and a pathway from phosphoglycerate. A cDNA encoding plastidic phosphoserine aminotransferase (PSAT) which catalyzes the formation of phosphoserine from phosphohydroxypyruvate has been isolated from Arabidopsis thaliana. Genomic DNA blot analysis indicated that this enzyme is most probably encoded by a single gene and is mapped on the lower arm of chromosome 4. The deduced protein contains an N-terminal extension exhibiting the general features of a plastidic transit peptide, which was confirmed by subcellular organelle localization using GFP (green flourescence protein). Northern analysis indicated preferential expression of PSAT in roots of light-grown plants, supporting the idea that the phosphorylated pathway may play an important role in supplying the serine requirement of plants in non-green tissues. In situ hybridization analysis of PSAT revealed that the gene is generally expressed in all types of cells with a significantly higher amount in the meristem tissue of root tips.