Lysozyme, an antibacterial protein, has been implicated in innate immunity in invertebrates, but its activity in shrimp remained to be determined. We cloned the white shrimp lysozyme cDNA using a PCR strategy and detected its activity in haemocytes using a lytic-zone assay against Micrococcus luteus. The cloning was based on a reported EST (dbEST BE18831). The deduced amino acid sequence resulted in 150 amino with 46% identity to hen egg white lysozyme. RT-PCR was used to detect lysozyme mRNA in haemocytes. Analysis of the amino acid sequence of the shrimp lysozyme showed that it belongs to the C-type family of lysozymes. Furthermore, the lysozyme amino acid sequence contained extra residues at its C-terminus, which are characteristic of marine invertebrates. This information will be useful in future studies on the molecular mechanisms of immunity in marine invertebrates. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.