S-Adenosyl-L-methionine:macrocin O-methyltransferase catalyzes conversion of macrocin to tylosin, the terminal and main rate-limiting step of tylosin biosynthesis in Streptomyces fradiae. The O-methyltransferase was stabilized in vitro and purified to electrophoretic homogeneity. The purified enzyme had a molecular weight of 65,000 and consisted of two identical subunits of 32,000 with an isoelectric point of 4.5. The enzyme required Mg2+, Mn2+, or Co2+ for maximal activity and was catalytically optimal at pH 7.5-8.0 and 31 degrees C. The O-methyltransferase catalyzed the conversion of macrocin to tylosin at a stoichiometric ratio of 1:1. The enzyme also mediated conversion of lactenocin----desmycosin. The corresponding Vmax/Km ratios for the two analogous conversions were similar, and both enzymic conversions were susceptible to extensive competitive and noncompetitive inhibitions by macrolide metabolites. Steady-state kinetic studies for initial velocity, substrate analogue, and product inhibitions have allowed formulation of Ordered Bi Bi as the reaction mechanism for macrocin O-methyltransferase.