Two targeting signals, PTS1 and PTS2, mediate import of proteins into the peroxisomal matrix. We have cloned and sequenced the watermelon (Citrullus vulgaris) cDNA homologue to the PTS1 receptor gene (PEX5). Its gene product, CvPex5p, belongs to the family of tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) containing proteins like the human and yeast counterparts, and exhibits 11 repeats of the sequence W-X2-(E/S)-(Y/F/Q) in its N-terminal half. According to fractionation studies the plant Pex5p is located mainly in the cytosolic fraction and therefore could function as a cycling receptor between the cytosol and glyoxysomes, as has been proposed for the Pex5p of human and some yeast peroxisomes. Transformation of the Hansenula polymorpha peroxisome deficient pex5 mutant with watermelon PEX5 resulted in restoration of peroxisome formation and the synthesis of additional membranes surrounding the peroxisomes. These structures are labeled in immunogold experiments using antibodies against the Hansenula polymorpha integral membrane protein Pex3p, confirming their peroxisomal nature. The plant Pex5p was localized by immunogold labelling mainly in the cytosol of the yeast, but also inside the newly formed peroxisomes. However, import of the PTS1 protein alcohol oxidase is only partially restored by CvPex5p.