Streptococcus faecalis grown with glucose as the primary energy source contains a single, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP)-specific 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase. Extracts of gluconate-adapted cells, however, exhibited 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase activity with either NADP or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). This was shown to be due to the presence of separate enzymes in gluconate-adapted cells. Although both enzymes catalyzed the oxidative decarboxylation of 6-phosphogluconate, they differed from one another with respect to their coenzyme specificity, molecular weight, pH optimum, K(m) values for substrate and coenzyme, and electrophoretic mobility in starch gels. The two enzymes also differed in their response to certain effector ligands. The NADP-linked enzyme was specifically inhibited by fructose-1,6-diphosphate, but was insensitive to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and certain other nucleotides. The NAD-specific enzyme, in contrast, was insensitive to fructose-1,6-diphosphate, but was inhibited by ATP. The available data suggest that the NAD enzyme is involved primarily in the catabolism of gluconate, whereas the NADP enzyme appears to function in the production of reducing equivalents (NADPH) for use in various reductive biosynthetic reactions.