Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that causes infections in eye, urinary tract, burn, and immunocompromised patients. We have cloned and characterized a serine/threonine (Ser/Thr) kinase and its cognate phosphoprotein phosphatase. By using oligonucleotides from the conserved regions of Ser/Thr kinases of mycobacteria, an 800-bp probe was used to screen P. aeruginosa PAO1 genomic library. A 20-kb cosmid clone was isolated, from which a 4.5-kb DNA with two open reading frames (ORFs) were subcloned. ORF1 was shown to encode Ser/Thr phosphatase (Stp1), which belongs to the PP2C family of phosphatases. Overlapping with the stp1 ORF, an ORF encoding Hank's type Ser/Thr kinase was identified. Both ORFs were cloned in pGEX-4T1 and expressed in Escherichia coli. The overexpressed proteins were purified by glutathione-Sepharose 4B affinity chromatography and were biochemically characterized. The Stk1 kinase is 39 kDa and undergoes autophosphorylation and can phosphorylate eukaryotic histone H1. A site-directed Stk1 (K86A) mutant was shown to be incapable of autophosphorylation. A two-dimensional phosphoamino acid analysis of Stk1 revealed strong phosphorylation at a threonine residue and weak phosphorylation at a serine residue. The Stp1 phosphatase is 27 kDa and is an Mn(2+)-, but not a Ca(2+)- or a Mg(2+)-, dependent Ser/Thr phosphatase. Its activity is inhibited by EDTA and NaF, but not by okadaic acid, and is similar to that of PP2C phosphatase.