Isoleucyl-transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) synthetase [l-isoleucine: soluble RNA ligase (adenosine monophosphate), EC 18.104.22.168; IRS] was partially purified from Escherichia coli K-12 and from an ileS mutant that appears to be altered in IRS. The half-life of wild-type IRS, incubated at 60.5 C, is 69 min, whereas that of mutant IRS is 8 min. Mutant IRS shows about a 100-fold lower affinity than wild-type IRS for isoleucine, dl-valine, thiaisoleucine, and O-methyl-dl-threonine, both in the pyrophosphate exchange assay and in the assay of isoleucyl-tRNA formation. The affinity of the mutant enzyme for adenosine triphosphate in the assay of isoleucyl-tRNA formation is 15-fold lower than that of the wild-type enzyme. The affinity of mutant IRS for tRNA is not changed as compared with wild-type IRS. These data show that mutant IRS has an altered structure and clearly confirm that ileS is the structural gene for IRS.