A 4-methyl-3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (4-MHA) activating enzyme was purified 24-fold from a crude protein extract of Streptomyces chrysomallus . The enzyme catalyzes both 4-MHA-dependent ATP/PPi exchange and the formation of the corresponding adenylate. No AMP was formed during the reaction, indicating that no covalent binding of 4-MHA takes place. Besides 4-MHA, the enzyme also catalyzes the formation of adenylates from 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3-HA), anthranilic acid (AA), benzoic acid (BA), 3-hydroxybenzoic acid (3-HB), 4-methyl-3-hydroxybenzoic acid (4-MHB), 4-methyl-3-methoxybenzoic acid (4- MMB ), and 4-aminobenzoic acid (4-AB). No such adenylates were formed from 2-aminophenol (2-AP), 2-hydroxybenzoic acid (2-HB), 3-hydroxykynurenine (3-HK), and tryptophan (Trp). 3-HA, 4-MHB, and 4-AB were among the structural analogues of 4-MHA that were the most effective for adenylate synthesis. In the case of 3-HA, considerable AMP release was observed, most probably due to nonenzymatic hydrolysis of the corresponding adenylate. A molecular weight between 53 000 and 57 000 was estimated. The specific activity of the enzyme was correlated with the titer of antibiotic in the cultures, and feeding experiments with whole mycelium of S. chrysomallus showed that 4-MHB was a strong inhibitor of actinomycin synthesis in vivo. The data strongly suggest that the enzyme is involved in the biosynthesis of actinomycin.