Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) was examined in cultured human osteosarcoma cells (SAOS-2) with respect to isoenzyme form, kinetic properties toward two natural substrates, and topography and nature of attachment to the plasma membrane. ALP in SAOS-2 homogenates is the tissue-nonspecific (TNS) isoenzyme and a phosphoethanolamine (PEA) and pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) phosphatase, as demonstrated by heat and inhibition profiles and electrophoretic mobility. Kinetic studies indicate that TNSALP in SAOS-2 cells has both a low- and a high-affinity activity. The high-affinity activity (showing the greater catalytic efficiency) is active at physiologic pH toward physiologic concentrations (μm) of PEA and PLP. TNSALP was shown to be an ectoenzyme in SAOS-2 cells by our findings in intact cell suspensions, where (i) PEA and PLP degradation in the medium nearly equaled that of whole cell homogenates, (ii) > 85% of ALP activity was inactivated by acid treatment, and (iii) ALP activity was quantitatively released by phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C. Our findings indicate that, in SAOS-2 cells, TNS (bone) ALP functions as an ectoenzyme to degrade physiologic concentrations of extracellular natural substrates at physiologic pH.