Pyridoxal kinase has been purified 2,000-fold from pig brain. The enzyme preparation migrates as a single protein and activity band on analytical gel electrophoresis. Pyridoxal kinase, 60,000 molecular weight, catalyzes the phosphorylation of pyridoxal (Km = 2.5 x 10(-5) M) and pyridoxine (Km = 1.7 x 10(-5) M). Pyridoxamine is not a substrate of the purified kinase. Irradiation of the kinase in the presence of riboflavin leads to irreversible loss of catalytic activity. Riboflavin binds to the kinase with a KD = 5 microM as shown by fluorometric titrations. Singlet excited oxygen, generated by energy transfer from the lowest triplet of riboflavin to oxygen, acts as the oxidizing agent of approximately one histidine residue per mol of enzyme. The amino acid residues tyrosine, tryptophan, and cysteine are not photooxidized by the sensitizer bound to the enzyme. It is postulated that histidine is involved in the binding of the substrate ATP to the catalytic site of pyridoxal kinase.