[en] The lip2 gene from the antarctic psychotroph Moraxella TA144 was sequenced. The primary structure of the Lip2 preprotein deduced from the nucleotide sequence is composed of 433 amino acids with a predicted Mr of 47,222. This enzyme contains a Ser-centered consensus sequence and a conserved His-Gly dipeptide found in most lipase amino-terminal domains. These sequences are involved in the lipase active site conformation since substitution of the conserved Ser or His residues by Ala and Gln, respectively, results in the loss of both lipase and esterase activities. Structural factors that would allow proper enzyme flexibility at low temperatures are discussed. It is suggested that only subtle changes in the primary structure of these psychrotrophic enzymes can account for their ability to catalyze lipolysis at temperatures close to 0 degrees C.