The activity and level of HMG-CoA reductase (HMGR) were addressed in halophilic fungi isolated from solar saltpans. Representative fungi belonging to the orders Dothideales, Eurotiales and Wallemiales have a specific pattern of HMGR regulation, which differs from salt-sensitive and moderately salt-tolerant yeasts. In all of the halophilic fungi studied, HMGR amounts and activities were the lowest at optimal growth salinity and increased under hyposaline and hypersaline conditions. This profile paralleled isoprenylation of cellular proteins in H. werneckii. Inhibition of HMGR in vivo by lovastatin impaired the halotolerant character. HMGR may thus serve as an important molecular marker of halotolerance.