Several reports have described an activity that modifies nitrotyrosine-containing proteins and their immunoreactivity to nitrotyrosine Abs. Without knowing the product of the reaction, this new activity has been called a "denitrase." In those studies, some nonspecific proteins, which have multiple tyrosine residues, e.g., albumin, were used as a substrate. Therefore, the studies were based on an unknown mechanism of reaction and potentially a high background. To solve these problems, one of the most important things is to find a more suitable substrate for assay of the enzyme. We developed an assay strategy for determining the substrate for denitrase combining 2D-gel electrophoresis and an on-blot enzyme assay. The resulting substrate from RAW 264.7 cells was Histone H1.2, an isoform protein of linker histone. Histone H1.2 has only one tyrosine residue in the entire molecule, which ensures the exact position of the substrate to be involved. It has been reported that Histones are the most prominent nitrated proteins in cancer tissues. It was also demonstrated that tyrosine nitration of Histone H1 occurs in vivo. These findings lead us to the idea that Histone H1.2 might be an intrinsic substrate for denitrase. We nitrated recombinant and purified Histone H1.2 chemically and subjected it to an on-blot enzyme assay to characterize the activity. Denitrase activity behaved as an enzymatic activity because the reaction was time dependent and was destroyed by heat or trypsin treatment. The activity was shown to be specific for Histone H1.2, to differ from proteasome activity, and to require no additional cofactors.