Enoyl-ACP reductase is a catalytic component of the fatty acid synthetase (FAS) type II system in plants that is involved in the de novo fatty acid biosynthesis in plastids. A cDNA encoding an enoyl-ACP reductase responsible for the removal of the trans-unsaturated double bonds to form saturated acyl-ACP has been isolated from a library made from ripening fruits of Olea europaea L. The predicted protein contains 393 amino acid residues including a consensus chloroplast specific transit peptide. A strong homology was observed when olive enoyl-ACP reductase aligned with other plant sequences. Southern hybridization analysis revealed that enoyl-ACP reductase is encoded by a single gene in olives. Northern hybridization showed a transient expression of the enoyl-ACP reductase (ENR) gene at early stages of drupe (5-7:weeks after flowering, WAF), embryo and endosperm (13-16:WAF) while in mesocarp (13-19:WAF) the expression remained at high levels. In situ hybridization showed particularly prominent expression in the palisade and vascular tissue of young leaves, the tapetum, developing pollen grains and vascular tissue of anthers and to less extent in the embryo sac and transmitting tissue of the carpel. The distinctive spatial and temporal regulation of the ENR gene is consistent with major roles, not only in thylakoid membrane formation and fatty acid deposition, but also in the provision of precursor molecules for the biosynthesis of oxilipins that are important in plant tissues involved in transportation and reproduction.