Leishmania infantum is a parasitic protozoan which infects humans. This paper reports the expression in Escherichia coli and purification of the L. infantum gene product (AF182167), as well as its characterization as a DNA polymerase beta (Polbeta)-like, template-dependent DNA repair enzyme, with a metal preference for Mn2+ over Mg2+. As is the case with mammalian Polbeta and DNA polymerase lambda (Pollambda), L. infantum DNA polymerase beta (Li Polbeta) prefers gapped-DNA substrates having a 5'-phosphate end, in agreement with its role in DNA repair reactions. Purified Li Polbeta also displayed a 5'-deoxyribose-5-phosphate (dRP) lyase activity, consistent with a beta-elimination mechanism. The concerted action of dRP lyase and DNA polymerization activities of Li Polbeta on a uracil-containing DNA suggests its participation in "single-nucleotide" base excision repair (BER). Analysis of Li Polbeta DNA polymerization activity at different stages of the L. infantum infective cycle supports a role for Li Polbeta in nuclear DNA repair after the oxidative damage occurring inside the macrophage.