Lon protease is a multifunctional enzyme, and its functions include the degradation of damaged proteins and naturally short lived proteins, ATPase and chaperone-like activities, as well as DNA binding. A thermostable Lon protease from Brevibacillus thermoruber WR-249 (Bt-Lon) has been cloned and characterized with an N-terminal domain, a central ATPase domain that includes a sensor and substrate discrimination (SSD) domain, and a C-terminal protease domain. Here we present a detailed structure-function characterization of Bt-Lon, not only dissecting the individual roles of Bt-Lon domains in oligomerization, catalytic activities, chaperone-like activity, and DNA binding activity but also describing the nature of oligomerization. Seven truncated mutants of Bt-Lon were designed, expressed, and purified. Our results show that the N-terminal domain is essential for oligomerization. The truncation of the N-terminal domain resulted in the failure of oligomerization and led to the inactivation of proteolytic, ATPase, and chaperone-like activities but retained the DNA binding activity, suggesting that oligomerization of Bt-Lon is a prerequisite for its catalytic and chaperone-like activities. We further found that the SSD is involved in DNA binding based on gel mobility shift assays. On the other hand, the oligomerization of Bt-Lon proceeds through a dimer <--> tetramer <--> hexamer assembly model revealed by chemical cross-linking experiments. The results also showed that hydrophobic interactions may play important roles in the dimerization of Bt-Lon, and ionic interactions are mainly responsible for the assembly of hexamers.