The catalytic domain of the xynB (xylanase) gene from the thermophilic bacterium Dictyoglomus thermophilum was reconstructed by PCR to match the codon preference of Trichoderma reesei. The 0.6-kb DNA fragment encoding the enzyme was first amplified by primer extension with a mixture of eight overlapping oligonucleotides, followed by PCR with outside primers containing restriction enzyme sites for directional cloning into Escherichia coli and T. reesei vectors. The synthetic gene was expressed in both organisms, producing a clearing halo around transformant colonies in plate assay utilizing an overlay of oat spelts xylan. Effective transcription of xynB in T. reesei was obtained after changing 20 codons. (C) 2000 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.