An enzyme hydrolyzing the water-insoluble glucans produced from sucrose by Streptococcus mutans was purified from the culture concentrate of Streptomyces chartreusis strain F2 by ion-exchange chromatography on diethylaminoethyl cellulose and carboxymethyl cellulose columns and gel filtration on Bio-Gel A-1.5m. The purification achieved was 6.4-fold, with an overall yield of 27.3%. Electrophoresis of the purified enzyme protein gave a single band on a sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel slab. Its molecular weight was estimated to be approximately 68,000, but there is a possibility that the native enzyme exists in an aggregated form or is an oligomer of the peptide subunits, have a molecular weight larger than 300,000. The pH optimum of the enzyme was 5.5 to 6.0, and its temperature optimum was 55 degrees C. The enzyme lost activity on heating at 65 degrees C for 10 min. The enzyme activity was completely inhibited by the presence of 1 mM Mn2+, Hg2+, Cu2+, Ag2+, or Merthiolate. The Km value for the water-insoluble glucan of S. mutans OMZ176 was an amount of glucan equivalent to 1.54 mM glucose, i.e., 0.89 mM in terms of the alpha-1,3-linked glucose residue. The purified enzyme was specific for glucans containing an alpha-1,3-glucosidic linkage as the major bond. The enzyme hydrolyzed the S. mutans water-insoluble glucans endolytically, and the products were oligosaccharides. These results indicate that the enzyme elaborated by S. chartreusis strain F2 is an endo-alpha-1,3-glucanase (EC 18.104.22.168).