Actin depolymerizing factors regulate actin dynamics involved in cellular processes such as morphogenesis, motility, development and infection. Here, a novel actin depolymerizing factor gene (CiADF
) was cloned from the cDNA library of Cryptocaryon irritans, a parasitic ciliate causing cryptocaryonosis. The full-length cDNA of CiADF
was 531 bp. Its open reading frame (ORF) was 417 bp, encoding a polypeptide of 138 aa with typical features of the ADF/cofilin family. Reverse transcription-PCR suggested that CiADF
is expressed in all stages of the life cycle. After site-directed mutagenesis of a non-universal genetic code, the ORF was subcloned in Escherichia coli. The bacteria were induced with the addition of isopropylthio-β-D-galactoside to express a fusion protein of recombinant CiADF2 (rCiADF2) with glutathione S transferase. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and Western blot confirmed the predicted molecular mass of rCiADF2 of 16·2 kDa. A mouse antibody against rCiADF2 recognized native CiADF2, and rCiADF2 reacted with mouse antisera against C. irritans trophonts. CiADF2 was abundant in the plasma around cytostomes, suggesting that CiADF2 is involved in ciliate movement. Moreover, rCiADF2 showed F-actin binding and depolymerizing activity. This study will help to clarify the pathogenic biology of the parasite and develop effective control measures for cryptocaryonosis.