A restriction endonuclease was isolated from Bacillus stearothermophilus1503-4R (Bst1503) and purified to homogeneity. The enzyme required Mg2+ ion as a cofactor. Bst1503 exhibited maximal activity between pH 7.5 and 8.0, between 60 and 65 degrees C, and with about 0.2 mM Mg2+. Bst1503 was not inactivated after exposure at 55 or 65 degrees C for up to 10 h. After 2 h of incubation at 70 degrees C, Bst1503 was inactivated by 65%. Bst1503 was rapidly inactivated at 75 degrees C. A single protein-staining band having a molecular weight of 46,000 was observed when Bst1503 was analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The enzyme was found to exist in two active forms, the predominating form with an S value of 8.3 (180,000) and the second form with an S value of 5.4 (96,000). No conversion between the 8.3S and 5.4S forms was observed after storage. Bst1503 recognized six sites in TP-1C deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), one site in pSC101 and simian virus 40 DNAs, and three sites in lambdavir DNA. Bst1503 and BamHI were determined to be isoschizomers. The effect of temperatures on the activity and stability of BamHI was determined.