The lipase from Pseudomonas cepacia ATCC 21808 (recently reclassified as Burkholderia cepacia) is widely used by organic chemists for enantioselective synthesis and is manufactured from recombinant P. cepacia harboring on a plasmid the clustered genes for lipase and its chaperone. High levels of expression of inactive lipase (40%) in Escherichia coli were achieved with pCYTEXP1 under the control of the strong, temperature-inducible λP(RL) promoter. However, no overexpression of the lipase chaperone was achieved in E. coli. Thus, chemical refolding of inactive lipase in the absence of its chaperone yielded only 25 U/mg, compared to 3,470 U of the purified lipase secreted by recombinant P. cepacia per mg. Sequence analysis of the chaperone revealed a high GC content (>90%) in the 5' region of the gene and the presence of a putative membrane anchor at the N terminus. Hence, the 5' region of the gene was replaced by a synthetic fragment, and the putative membrane anchor was removed by deletion of the first 34 or 70 N-terminal amino acids. Only truncation of the gene led to overexpression of the chaperone (up to 60%) in E. coli. With this chaperone, it was possible to obtain for the first time in a simple refolding procedure a highly active Pseudomonas lipase (classes I and II) expressed in E. coli with a specific activity of up to 4,850 U/mg and a yield of 314,000 U/g of E. coli wet cells.