Background: Laccases are blue multi-copper oxidases and catalyze the oxidation of phenolic and non-phenolic compounds. There is considerable interest in using these enzymes for dye degradation as well as for synthesis of aromatic compounds. Laccases are produced at relatively low levels and, sometimes, as isozymes in the native fungi. The investigation of properties of individual enzymes therefore becomes difficult. The goal of this study was to over-produce a previously reported laccase from Cyathus bulleri using the well-established expression system of Pichia pastoris and examine and compare the properties of the recombinant enzyme with that of the native laccase.Results: In this study, complete cDNA encoding laccase (Lac) from white rot fungus Cyathus bulleri was amplified by RACE-PCR, cloned and expressed in the culture supernatant of Pichia pastoris under the control of the alcohol oxidase (AOX)1 promoter. The coding region consisted of 1,542 bp and encodes a protein of 513 amino acids with a signal peptide of 16 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence of the matured protein displayed high homology with laccases from Trametes versicolor and Coprinus cinereus. The sequence analysis indicated the presence of Glu 460 and Ser 113 and LEL tripeptide at the position known to influence redox potential of laccases placing this enzyme as a high redox enzyme. Addition of copper sulfate to the production medium enhanced the level of laccase by about 12-fold to a final activity of 7200 U L-1. The recombinant laccase (rLac) was purified by ~4-fold to a specific activity of ~85 U mg-1 protein. A detailed study of thermostability, chloride and solvent tolerance of the rLac indicated improvement in the first two properties when compared to the native laccase (nLac). Altered glycosylation pattern, identified by peptide mass finger printing, was proposed to contribute to altered properties of the rLac.Conclusion: Laccase of C. bulleri was successfully produced extra-cellularly to a high level of 7200 U L-1 in P. pastoris under the control of the AOX1 promoter and purified by a simple three-step procedure to homogeneity. The kinetic parameters against ABTS, Guaiacol and Pyrogallol were similar with the nLac and the rLac. Tryptic finger print analysis of the nLac and the rLac indicated altered glycosylation patterns. Increased thermo-stability and salt tolerance of the rLac was attributed to this changed pattern of glycosylation. © 2012 Garg et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.