A type I topoisomerase has been purified from Diplococcus pneumoniae using phosphocellulose and hydroxylapatite chromatography. The purified enzyme catalyses the relaxation of negatively supercoiled DNA. The relaxation requires Mg2+ and is favoured by 0.2 M monovalent cations. The enzyme does not exhibit catenating or supercoiling activities. Using circular pBR322 DNA from dam+- and dam- -hosts as substrates for the enzyme, the relaxation reaction proceeds with somewhat higher efficiency with plasmids containing methylated adenine in GATC sequences. Plasmids from dcm+- and dcm- -hosts show no difference in reactivity.