A procedure has been developed for the purification of phosphoglucomutase from human red cell (phenotype PGM1 a1 or a3) lysates. It yields homogeneous isoenzyme preparations of the products ("primary" and "secondary") of the two PGM1 and PGM2 loci with distinctive pI (from 6.07 to 5.29). There are substantial differences between PGM1 and PGM2 isoenzymes, having single polypeptide chains of 58,500 and 69,000 Mr respectively and showing different thermostability. The kinetic properties of all the isoenzymes for the phosphoglucomutase reaction are essentially the same (apart from the specific activity of 1089-1263 units/mg for PGM1 forms vs 37-42 units/mg for PGM2 forms), but there are striking differences in substrate specificity. In fact the products of PGM1 locus are "true" phosphoglucomutases, being specific to mutate glucose monophosphates, whereas the PGM2 forms also display phosphoribomutase and glucose 1,6-bisphosphate synthetic activities. Some kinetic properties of these "side activities" are also reported.