Geranyldiphosphate:4-hydroxybenzoate 3-geranyltransferase is a regulatory enzyme in the biosynthesis of shikonin, a phytoalexin and pharmaceutical produced by cell cultures of Lithospermum erythrorhizon Sieb. et Zucc. In Linsmaier-Skoog medium, the activity of this enzyme could be enhanced more than 200-fold by addition of methyl jasmonate, and this culture material was used for the solubilization and purification of the enzyme. Of various detergents examined, digitonin was the most suitable for the solubilization of the enzyme. The solubilized enzyme was purified 800-fold by chromatography over diethylaminoethyl (DEAE)-Sephacel, Heparin-Sepharose, Reactive Green 19-Agarose, and Cholic Acid-Agarose. The purified enzyme required magnesium ions as cofactor and was highly specific for geranyldiphosphate (GPP) and 4-hydroxybenzoate (4HB) as substrates. The K(m) values for 4HB and GPP were calculated by the method of Lineweaver and Burk as 18.4 microM and 13.8 microM, respectively.