Methionine aminopeptidase (MAP), which catalyzes the removal of NH2-terminal methionine from proteins, was isolated from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The enzyme was purified 472-fold to apparent homogeneity. The M(r) of the native enzyme was estimated to be 36,000 ± 5,000 by gel filtration chromatography, and the M(r) of the denatured protein was estimated to be 34,000 ± 2,000 by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The enzyme has a pH optimum near 7.0, and its pI is 7.8 as determined by chromatofocusing on Mono P. The enzyme was inactivated by metalloprotease inhibitors (EDTA, o-phenanthroline and nitrilotriacetic acid), sulfhydryl-modifying reagents (HgCl2 and p-hydroxymercuribenzoic acid), and Zn2+. Yeast MAP failed to cleave methionine p-nitroanilide. Among 11 Xaa-Ala-Ser analogues (Xaa = Ala, Asp, Gln, Glu, Ile, Leu, Lys, Met, Phe, Pro, and Ser), MAP cleaved only Met-Ala-Ser. MAP also cleaved methionine from other tripeptides whose penultimate amino acid residue is relatively small and/or uncharged (e.g. Pro, Gly, Val, Thr, or Ser) but not when bulky and/or charged (Arg, His, Leu, Met, or Tyr). Yeast MAP similar substrate specificities compared with those of Escherichia coli (Ben-Bassat, A., Bauer, K., Chang, S.Y., Myambo, K., Boosman, A., and Chang, S. (1987) J. Bacteriol. 169, 751-757) and Salmonella typhimurium MAP (Miller, C., Strauch, K.L., Kukral, A.M., Miller, J.L., Wingfield, P.T., Mazzei, G.J., Werlen, R.C., Garber, P., and Movva, N.R. (1987) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 84, 2718-2722). In general, the in vitro specificity of yeast MAP is consistent with the specificity observed in previous in vivo studies in yeast (reviewed in Arfin, S.M., and Bradshaw, R.A. (1988) Biochemistry 27, 7979-7984).