Sterol 14alpha-demethylase (CYP51) is the most widely distributed of all members of the cytochrome P450 gene superfamily and the only CYP family found in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. It is well known as a drug target for microbial pathogenic infections. Studies of CYP51 gene regulation have been carried out primarily in animals because its regulation is similar to those of other genes involved in the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway. The function of CYP51 has been studied widely throughout biology including in animals, plants, yeast/fungi, protozoa, and bacteria. The structure has been determined by X-ray crystallography for the soluble prokaryotic form of CYP51 from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Together these studies provide the most detailed understanding of any single cytochrome P450 and this minireview summarizes this information.