[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The extracellular phytase of the plant-associated Klebsiella sp. ASR1 is a member of the histidine-acid-phosphatase family and acts primarily as a scavenger of phosphate groups locked in the phytic acid molecule. The Klebsiella enzyme is distinguished from the Escherichia coli phytase AppA by its sequence and phytate degradation pathway. The crystal structure of the phytase from Klebsiella sp. ASR1 has been determined to 1.7 A resolution using single-wavelength anomalous-diffraction phasing. Despite low sequence similarity, the overall structure of Klebsiella phytase bears similarity to other histidine-acid phosphatases, such as E. coli phytase, glucose-1-phosphatase and human prostatic-acid phosphatase. The polypeptide chain is organized into an alpha and an alpha/beta domain, and the active site is located in a positively charged cleft between the domains. Three sulfate ions bound to the catalytic pocket of an inactive mutant suggest a unique binding mode for its substrate phytate. Even in the absence of substrate, the Klebsiella phytase is closer in structure to the E. coli phytase AppA in its substrate-bound form than to phytate-free AppA. This is taken to suggest a preformed substrate-binding site in Klebsiella phytase. Differences in habitat and substrate availability thus gave rise to enzymes with different substrate-binding modes, specificities and kinetics.