DNA topoisomerase II was purified from calf thymus nuclei by a simple and fast four-step procedure: selective ammonium sulfate precipitation, chromatography on blue-Sepharose and hydroxyapatite, followed by ultracentrifugation on a glycerol gradient. Starting from 300 g thymus glands, this procedure yields 0.7 mg of homogeneous topoisomerase II. The final product is free of any nucleolytic, proteolytic or topoisomerase I activity. Dodecylsulfate/polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis reveals two bands with apparent molecular masses of 175 and 150 kDa. Analytical gel filtration and sedimentation on isokinetic sucrose gradients were used to determine the Stokes' radius as 6.4 nm and the sedimentation coefficient as 9.5 S, indicating a dimeric structure for the native enzyme. The purified topoisomerase II is strictly dependent on ATP or dATP, the Km values of which were 0.14 mM and 0.5 mM, respectively. Mg2+ is an essential cofactor for the reaction at concentrations between 0.5–8 mM, with an optimum at 4 mM. Mg2+ can be substituted by Mn2+ at concentrations between 0.2–0.4 mM. Both the relaxation and the catenation reaction exhibit a salt optimum at 130 mM NaCl. At concentrations below 30 mM and above 200 mM, the enzyme is inactive. The pH is optimal between 8 and 9.5 using Tris buffers.