The prsDE genes encode a type I protein secretion system required for the secretion of the nodulation protein NodO and at least three other proteins from Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae. At least one of these proteins was predicted to be a glycanase involved in processing of bacterial exopolysaccharide (EPS). Two strongly homologous genes (plyA and plyB) were identified as encoding secreted proteins with polysaccharide degradation activity. Both PlyA and PlyB degrade EPS and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), and these extracellular activities are absent in a prsD (protein secretion) mutant. The plyA gene is upstream of prsD but appears to be expressed at a very low level (if at all) in cultured bacteria. A plyB::Tn5 mutant has a very large reduction in degradation of EPS and CMC. Cultures of plyB mutants contained an increased ratio of EPS repeat units to reducing ends, indicating that the EPS was present in a longer-chain form, and this correlated with a significant increase in culture viscosity. Thus, PlyB may play a role in processing of EPS. Analysis of the symbiotic properties of a plyA plyB double mutant revealed that these genes are not required for symbiotic nitrogen fixation and that nodulation was not significantly affected. PlyA and PlyB are similar to bacterial and fungal polysaccharide lyases; they contain 10 copies of what we propose as a novel heptapeptide repeat motif that may constitute a fold similar to that found in the family of extracellular pectate lyases. PlyA and PlyB lack the Ca2+-binding RTX nonapeptide repeat motifs usually found in proteins secreted via type I systems. We propose that PlyA and PlyB are members of a new family of proteins secreted via type I secretion systems and that they are involved in processing of EPS.