A sensitive assay for measuring serine hydroxymethyltransferase activity has been developed, based on the binding of N5,N10-[14C]methylene tetrahydrofolate (THF) to DEAE-cellulose paper. The complete assay requires THF, pyridoxal 5'-phosphate, [14C]serine, and enzyme. The reaction is stopped by streaking an aliquot of the reaction mixture onto a square of DEAE-cellulose paper, washing the paper with water to remove unreacted serine, drying the paper, and counting the bound N5,N10-[14C]methylene-THF. To determine that the labeled product was N5,N10-methylene-THF, unlabeled formaldehyde, which exchanges with the labeled methylene carbon, was added after the product had accumulated; 2 min after the addition of formaldehyde the amount of labeled product was reduced by 50%, and by 85% after 10 min. In addition, glycine, which reverses the reaction, and hydroxylamine, which reacts with the methylene carbon, reduced the number of counts bound to the paper. Binding of product to the filter is proportional to both enzyme concentration and assay time. No counts were retained on phosphocellulose filters. This assay represents a new and simple method for measuring serine hydroxymethyltransferase activity, which can be used to measure enzyme activity in tissue homogenates and for screening large numbers of samples.