We have identified, cloned and characterized a formerly unknown protein from Streptomyces lividans spores. The deduced protein belongs to a novel member of the metallophosphatase superfamily and contains a phosphatase domain and predicted binding sites for divalent ions. Very close relatives are encoded in the genomic DNA of many different Streptomyces species. As the deduced related homologues diverge from other known phosphatase types, we named the protein MptS (metallophosphatase type from Streptomyces). Comparative physiological and biochemical investigations and analyses by fluorescence microscopy of the progenitor strain, designed mutants carrying either a disruption of the mptS gene or the reintroduced gene as fusion with histidine codons or the egfp gene led to the following results: (i) the mptS gene is transcribed in the course of aerial mycelia formation. (ii) The MptS protein is produced during the late stages of growth, (iii) accumulates within spores, (iv) functions as an active enzyme that releases inorganic phosphate from an artificial model substrate, (v) is required for spore dormancy and (vi) MptS supports the interaction amongst Streptomyces lividans spores with conidia of the fungus Aspergillus proliferans. We discuss the possible role(s) of MptS-dependent enzymatic activity and the implications for spore biology.