The purification and properties of a hyaluronate lyase secreted by Streptococcus agalactiae, which is believed to facilitate the invasion of host tissues by the organism, have been described previously. The specificity of the limited cleavage of chondroitin sulphate by the enzyme is the subject of this report. To simplify the task, a chondroitin sulphate from the Swarm rat chondrosarcoma, which contains only 4-sulphated and unsulphated disaccharide repeats, was used in this study. Tetrasaccharides from an ovine testicular hyaluronidase digest of the chondroitin sulphate were isolated, identified and tested as substrates of the streptococcal hyaluronate lyase. Only tetrasaccharides with an unsulphated disaccharide at the reducing end were cleaved (by elimination at the N-acetylgalactosaminidic bond). Thus chondroitin sulphate chains are cleaved by the action of this lyase at every unsulphated disaccharide repeat, but release of unsaturated unsulphated disaccharides only occurs from sites where two or more sequential unsulphated disaccharide repeats are present. Analysis of the chondrosarcoma chondroitin sulphate showed that of approximately five unsulphated disaccharide repeats per chain, two are clustered. The ability of group-B streptococcal hyaluronate lyase to cleave chondroitin sulphate may allow the organisms to invade tissues more efficiently. The demonstrated specific and highly limited cleavage of chondroitin sulphate by this bacterial lyase promises to be a useful tool in the determination of chondroitin sulphate structure and variability.