alpha-(N-Acetylaminomethylene)succinic acid hydrolase (Compound A hydrolase, EC 3.5.1-) and alpha-hydroxymethyl-alpha'-(N-acetylaminomethylene)succinic acid hydrolase (Compound B hydrolase, EC 3.5.1-) were purified to homogeneity from Pseudomonas MA-1 and Arthrobacter Cr-7, respectively. The two inducible enzymes catalyze Reactions 1 and 2, respectively, which release the first generally useful anabolic intermediates during growth of these organisms with (formula; see text) pyridoxine as a sole source of carbon and nitrogen. Compound A hydrolase is a monomeric protein of Mr 32,500 with aspartic acid as its NH2-terminal residue. Compound B hydrolase (Mr congruent to 205,000) is a multimer containing probably six identical subunits with glycine as the NH2 terminus. The two enzymes have quite different amino acid analyses, although both are high in Asx and Glx, lack tryptophan, and show similar stabilities to pH and temperature. Compound A hydrolase has a pI of 4.4, a Km of 3.3 microM, and a Vmax of 3.1 mumol X min-1 X mg-1 at pH 6.5 and 25 degrees C; no analogue substrates were found. Compound B hydrolase has a pI of 4.2, a Km of 25 microM, and a Vmax of 3.8 mumol X min-1 X mg-1 at 25 degrees C and pH 7.0; it also hydrolyzes Compound A slowly. Both enzymes are inhibited competitively by di- and tricarboxylic acids, itaconic acid being among the most effective. Sulfite inhibits both enzymes by a time-dependent mechanism not yet understood. The two amidases appear to differ greatly in architecture despite the similarity in properties and in the overall reactions they catalyze.