A heme protein, hCP, from the extreme halophile, Haloarcula marismortui, showing both peroxidatic and catalatic activity has been purified and characterized as a catalase-peroxidase. Catalatic activity is enhanced by molar concentrations of NaCl or (NH4)2SO4, while peroxidase activity decreases with increasing salt concentration. Optimal pH values are 6.0 for peroxidatic activity assayed in absence of NaCl and 7.5 for catalatic activity assayed in molar concentrations of NaCl. The two activities present saturation behaviour with increasing H2O2 concentration with apparent Km values of 0.5 and 2.5 mM for the peroxidatic and catalatic activities, respectively. A molecular mass of 81,292 +/- 9 Da was measured for the polypeptide by mass spectroscopy. One heme group (protoporphyrin IX with an iron atom in the ferric state) is associated with one molecule of hCP. Its amino-acid composition shows hCP to contain a high proportion of acidic residues. The EPR spectrum of the NO-compound of reduced (ferrous) hCP strongly suggests that the proximal ligand of the heme is the imidazole group of a histidine residue.