Phosphotriesterase homology protein (PHP) is a member of a recently discovered family of proteins related to phosphotriesterase. Phosphotriesterase is a hydrolytic, bacterial enzyme with unusual substrate specificity for synthetic organophosphate triesters, common constituents of chemical warfare agents and agricultural pesticides. PHP may belong to the family of proteins from which phosphotriesterase evolved. The PHP gene from the thermophilic bacterium Geobacillus caldoxylosilyticus TK4 was cloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli with 6x His tag in the N-terminal. The recombinant protein was purified with nickel affinity chromatography and characterized in detail. The enzyme did not have any activity against paraoxon. The highest activities were observed with p-nitrophenyl acetate (pNPA) and p-nitrophenyl butyrate. pH and temperature optima were determined as 8.0 and 50 degrees C, respectively, with pNPA. The enzyme activity was not largely affected by the incubation of the enzyme at 50 degrees C in the different buffer solutions (pHs between 3.0 and 9.0) for 7 days. After the incubation at 90 degrees C for 7 days, G. caldoxylosilyticus TK4 PHP retained 62% of its original activity. The enzyme was also resistant to some metal ions and organic solvents. These results suggest that this is the first reported PHP having an extremely pH- and thermo-stable esterase activity. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.