Phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) carboxykinase was purified 42-fold with a 25% yield from cell extracts of Ruminococcus flavefaciens by ammonium sulfate precipitation, preparative isoelectric focusing, and removal of carrier ampholytes by chromatography. The enzyme had a subunit molecular mass of approximately 66.3 kDa (determined by mass spectrometry), but was retained by a filter having a 100-kDa nominal molecular mass cutoff. Optimal activity required activation of the enzyme by Mn2+ and stabilization of the nucleotide substrate by Mg2+. GDP was a more effective phosphoryl acceptor than ADP, while IDP was not utilized. Under optimal conditions the measured activity in the direction of PEP carboxylation was 17.2 micromol min-1 (mg enzyme)-1. The apparent Km values for PEP (0.3 mM) and GDP (2.0 mM) were 9- and 14-fold lower than the apparent Km values for the substrates of the back reaction (oxaloacetate and GTP, respectively). The data are consistent with the involvement of PEP carboxykinase as the primary carboxylation enzyme in the fermentation of cellulose to succinate by this bacterium.