An extracellular serine alkaline protease of Bacillus clausii GMBAE 42 was produced in protein-rich medium in shake-flask cultures for 3 days at pH 10.5 and 37 degrees C. Highest alkaline protease activity was observed in the late stationary phase of cell cultivation. The enzyme was purified 16-fold from culture filtrate by DEAE-cellulose chromatography followed by (NH4)(2)SO4 precipitation, with a yield of 58%. SDS-PAGE analysis revealed the molecular weight of the enzyme to be 26.50 kDa. The optimum temperature for enzyme activity was 60 degrees C; however, it is shifted to 70 degrees C after addition of 5 mM Ca2+ ions. The enzyme was stable between 30 and 40 degrees C for 2 h at pH 10.5; only 14% activity loss was observed at 50 degrees C. The optimal pH of the enzyme was 11.3. The enzyme was also stable in the pH 9.0-12.2 range for 24 h at 30 degrees C; however, activity losses of 38% and 76% were observed at pH values of 12.7 and 13.0, respectively. The activation energy of Hammarsten casein hydrolysis by the purified enzyme was 10.59 kcal mol(-1) (44.30 U mol(-1)). The enzyme was stable in the presence of the 1% (w/v) Tween-20, Tween-40,Tween-60, Tween-80, and 0.2% (w/v) SDS for 1 h at 30 degrees C and pH 10.5. Only 10% activity loss was observed with 1% sodium perborate under the same conditions. The enzyme was not inhibited by iodoacetate, ethylacetimidate, phenylglyoxal, iodoacetimidate, n-ethylmaleimidate, n-bromosuccinimide, diethylpyrocarbonate or n-ethyl-5phenyl-iso-xazolium-3'-sulfonate. Its complete inhibition by phenylmethanesulfonylfluoride and relatively high k(cat) value for N-Suc-Ala-Ala-Pro-Phe-pNA hydrolysis indicates that the enzyme is a chymotrypsin-like serine protease. Km and kcat values were estimated at 0.655 mu M N-Suc-Ala-Ala-Pro-Phe-pNA and 4.21 x 10(3) min(-1), respectively.