Recently the gene encoding a member of the RecQ helicase family, RecQ5, was cloned from the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster [J.J.Sekelsky, M.H.Brodsky, G.M. Rubin and R.S. Hawley (1999) Nucleic Acids Res., 27, 3762-3769]. The Drosophila RecQ5 transcript is alternatively spliced, like its human counterpart, to yield three protein isoforms. Two of these isoforms are almost identical and have a predicted molecular weight of 54 kDa. The third isoform is larger and contains, in addition to the helicase domain shared by all three isoforms, a long highly charged C-terminal region. A small isoform of the Drosophila RecQ5 protein (RECQ5) has been expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. The purified protein is a single-stranded DNA-stimulated ATPase (dATPase) and a 3'-->5' DNA helicase. Hydrolysis of the nucleotide cofactor is required for unwinding activity and dATP supported the unwinding reaction better than other NTPs. The turnover number for the single-stranded DNA-stimulated dATPase activity was 1380 min(-1), approximately 1.5-fold higher than that observed for the ATPase activity (900 min(-1)). The purified protein catalyzed unwinding of partial duplex substrates up to at least 93 bp, however, unwinding of an 89 bp blunt duplex substrate was not detected.