Saccharomyces cerevisiae sphinganine C4-hydroxylase encoded by the SUR2 gene catalyses the conversion of sphinganine to phytosphingosine. We isolated the SUR2 gene from Pichia ciferiii using nucleotide sequence homology to S. cerevisiae SUR2 to study hydroxylation of sphinganine in the sphingoid base overproducing yeast P. ciferrii. A positive clone was confirmed by nucleotide sequencing. A syringomycin-E resistance phenotype of a S. cerevisiae sur2-null mutant was complemented by expression of the cloned P. ciferrii SUR2 gene. Restoration of phytosphingosine production in the complemented strain was also confirmed, indicating that the cloned gene is a functional homologue of S. cerevisiae SUR2. The nucleotide sequence of the P. ciferrii SUR2 gene was submitted to GenBank under Accession No. AY151276.