The pathway of sucrose metabolism in cyanobacteria is just starting to be elucidated. The present study describes the first isolation and biochemical characterization of a prokaryotic sucrose synthase (SS, EC 188.8.131.52). Two SS forms (SS-I and SS-II) were detected in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7119. The isoform SS-II was purified 457-fold and its amino-terminal portion sequenced. Substrate specificity, kinetic constants, native protein and subunit molecular masses, and the effect of different ions and metabolites were studied for SS-II. Anabaena SS was shown to be a tetramer with a 92-kDa polypeptide that was recognized by maize SS polyclonal antibodies. Some striking differences from plant enzymes were demonstrated with respect to substrate affinities, regulation by metal ions and ATP, and the amino-acid sequence of the N-terminal region.