[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chlorinated compounds are important environmental pollutants whose biodegradation may be limited by inefficient dechlorinating enzymes. Dictyostelium amoebae produce a chlorinated alkyl phenone called DIF which induces stalk cell differentiation during their multicellular development. Here we describe the identification of DIF dechlorinase. DIF dechlorinase is active when expressed in bacteria, and activity is lost from Dictyostelium cells when its gene, drcA, is knocked out. It has a K(m) for DIF of 88 nM and K(cat) of 6.7 s(-1). DrcA is related to glutathione S-transferases, but with a key asparagine-to-cysteine substitution in the catalytic pocket. When this change is reversed, the enzyme reverts to a glutathione S-transferase, thus suggesting a catalytic mechanism. DrcA offers new possibilities for the rational design of bioremediation strategies.