In prsA (protein secretion) mutants of Bacillus subtilis, decreased levels of exoproteins, including alpha-amylase and subtilisins, are found extracellularly. The effect of prsA on subtilisin secretion is elaborated here. Extracytoplasmic folding and secretion of active subtilisin is assisted by the N-terminal pro-sequence of its precursor. In this paper we present evidence that the product of the prsA gene is additionally required for these processes in vivo. We examined inducible expression of different subtilisin-alkaline phosphatase fusion genes in the prsA3 mutant. We found massive degradation of the fusion proteins, and a lack of enzymatic activity in the protein secreted. We suggest that PrsA is a novel chaperone with a predicted extracytoplasmic location, and is important in vivo for the proper conformation of various exoproteins, including those with pro-sequence (like subtilisin) and those without (like alpha-amylase).