Optimal enzymatic hydrolysis of glucosylceramide inserted into liposomes has been obtained when both acidic phospholipids and the appropriate fatty acids were added to glucosylceramide-containing liposomes. In fact, the stimulation of glucosylceramidase by acidic phospholipids was synergistically enhanced by fatty acids, whose effect was dependent upon chain length and increased on unsaturation. By following the partition of glucosylceramidase between the aqueous phase and the liposome-associated state with a flotation procedure, it has been found that phosphatidic acid (PA) and oleic acid (OA), as representatives of acidic phospholipids and activating fatty acids, respectively, were both required not only for optimal glucosylceramidase activity, but also for a tight binding of the enzyme to the liposomes. The binding was significantly less effective in the absence of either PA or OA. In the absence of both PA and OA no physical interaction between the enzyme and the liposomes was observed. Under all conditions, the glucosylceramidase activity directly correlated with the enzyme binding to the substrate-containing liposomes. Additionally, we have obtained evidence that the site(s) of the enzyme involved in the binding to the liposomes is distinct from the catalytic site; in fact, the enzyme could still associate with liposomes containing PA and OA but devoid of glucosylceramide, while it was incapable of binding to glucosylceramide-containing liposomes in the absence of PA and OA. In conclusion, the presence in liposomes of acidic phospholipids together with the appropriate fatty acids plays a key role in promoting the binding of glucosylceramidase. Consequently, when glucosylceramide is also included in the liposomes, its hydrolysis is markedly enhanced by these acidic lipids.