The hyaluronan lyase of group B streptococci rapidly cleaves hyaluronan by an elimination mechanism to yield the unsaturated disaccharide 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-3-O-(β-D-gluco-4-enepyranosyluronic acid)-D-glucose. Additionally, it has been shown that the enzyme has limited specificity for a chondroitin sulphate and cleaves the chain at unsulphated sites. In the present extension of that study it was found that 6-sulphated regions of chondroitin sulphate are also susceptible to cleavage by this hyaluronan lyase. Of the four 6- and/or 4-sulphated tetrasaccharides which can be isolated from testicular hyaluronidase digests of chondroitin sulphate, only those two tetrasaccharides with a 6-sulphated disaccharide at the reducing end were cleaved. From this and other data, a model is proposed for the cleavage specificity of hyaluronan lyase on a chondroitin sulphate. Evidence is presented in support of an action pattern for hyaluronan lyase which involves an initial random endolytic cleavage followed by rapid exolytic and processive release of unsaturated disaccharide. Since the only oligosaccharides which tend to accumulate in near-complete digests of hyaluronan are unsaturated, it is argued that the processive cleavage occurs from the non-reducing to the reducing end of a hyaluronan chain. This detailed knowledge of substrate specificity contributes to our understanding of the enzyme's role in Group B streptococcal pathogenesis. In addition, the hyaluronan lyase may find application in sequence studies of chondroitin sulphates.