A 2118-base pair gene encoding the bifunctional hydroxymethyldihydropterin pyrophosphokinase-dihydropteroate syntheses of Plasmodium falciparum (pfPPPK-DHPS) was expressed under the control of the T5 promoter in a DHPS-deficient Escherichia coli strain. The enzyme was purified to near homogeneity using nickel affinity chromatography followed by gel filtration and migrates as an intense band on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with apparent mass of approximately 83 kDa. Gel filtration suggested that the native pfPPPK-DHPS might exist as a tetramer of identical subunits. The enzyme was found to be Mg2+ - and ATP-dependent and had optimal temperature ranging from 37 to 45 degrees C with peak activity at pH 10. Sodium chloride and potassium chloride at 0.2 and 0.4 M, respectively, activated the activity of the enzyme but higher salt concentrations were inhibitory. Guanidine-HCl and urea inhibited the enzyme activity by 50% at 0.25 and 0.9 M, respectively. Kinetic properties of the recombinant pfPPPK-DHPS were investigated. Sulfathiazole and dapsone were potent inhibitors of pfPPPK-DHPS, whilst sulfadoxine, sulfanilamide, sulfacetamide and p-aminosalicylic acid were less inhibitory. Our construct provides an abundant source of recombinant pfPPPK-DHPS for crystallization and drug screening.