phospholipases a2 (pla2) are enzymes that specifically hydrolyze the sn-2 fatty acid acyl bond of phospholipids, producing a free fatty acid and a lyso-phospholipid. we report the cloning and expression of a secretory phospholipase a2 (spla2) from mesobuthus tamulus, indian red scorpion. the nucleotide sequence codes for a 167 residue enzyme. the open reading frame codes for a 31 amino acid signal peptide followed by a mature portion of the protein. the primary structure shows the calcium binding motif, catalytic residues, 8 highly-conserved cysteines and c-terminal extension which classify it as a group iii pla2. the entire transcript was expressed in escherichia coli and was purified by metal affinity chromatography under denaturing conditions. the protein was refolded by serial dilutions in the refolding buffer to its active form. hemolytic assays indicate that the protein adopts a functional conformation. the functional requisites such as optimum ph of 8 and calcium dependency are shown. this report provides a simple but robust methodology for recombinant expression of toxic proteins.