The enzyme Hbp (hemoglobin protease) of the pathogenic Escherichia coli strain EB1 has been purified to homogeneity by gel filtration chromatography. The purified protein is capable of binding heme and shows hemoglobin protease activity. Our method of purification is applicable not only to Hbp but also to other autotransporter proteins and will contribute to a better understanding of the function-structure relationship of this family of proteins. © 2001 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.