Xylose reductase (XR) is the first enzyme in d-xylose metabolism, catalyzing the reduction of d-xylose to xylitol. Formation of XR in the yeast Candida tropicalis is significantly repressed in cells grown on medium that contains glucose as carbon and energy source, because of the repressive effect of glucose. This is one reason why glucose is not a suitable co-substrate for cell growth in industrial xylitol production. XR from the ascomycete Neurospora crassa (NcXR) has high catalytic efficiency; however, NcXR is not expressed in C. tropicalis because of difference in codon usage between the two species. In this study, NcXR codons were changed to those preferred in C. tropicalis. This codon-optimized NcXR gene (termed NXRG) was placed under control of a constitutive glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) promoter derived from C. tropicalis, and integrated into the genome of xylitol dehydrogenase gene (XYL2)-disrupted C. tropicalis. High expression level of NXRG was confirmed by determining XR activity in cells grown on glucose medium. The resulting recombinant strain, LNG2, showed high XR activity (2.86 U (mg of protein)(-1)), whereas parent strain BSXDH-3 showed no activity. In xylitol fermentation using glucose as a co-substrate with xylose, LNG2 showed xylitol production rate 1.44 g L(-1) h(-1) and xylitol yield of 96% at 44 h, which were 73 and 62%, respectively, higher than corresponding values for BSXDH-3 (rate 0.83 g L(-1) h(-1); yield 59%).