The gene encoding a novel alkaline pectate lyase (Apel) from Bacillus subtilis was cloned and expressed in B. subtilis WB600. Apel contained an ORF of 1,260 bp, encoding a signal peptide of 21 amino acids and a mature protein of 399 amino acids with a calculated molecular mass of 45497.9 Da. The mature Apel was structurally related to the enzymes in the polysaccharide lyase family 1. After purification, the recombinant Apel had a specific activity of 445 U mg(-1). The enzyme was optimally active at 50°C and pH 9.