Organophosphorus (OP) insecticides and chemical warfare agents act primarily by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase. There are many secondary targets for OP toxicants as observed for example with the major insecticide chlorpyrifos and its bioactivated metabolite chlorpyrifos oxon (CPO). Therefore, it was surprising that the predominant mouse brain protein labeled in vitro by [(3)H-ethyl]CPO (1 nM) (designated CPO-binding protein or CPO-BP) is not one of these known OP toxicant targets. CPO-BP is a 50-kDa membrane-bound serine hydrolase measured by derivatization with [(3)H]CPO and SDS/PAGE or filtration binding assay. It appears to undergo rapid diethylphosphorylation by [(3)H]CPO followed by either dephosphorylation and reactivation or aging on loss of an ethyl group. CPO and several other OP toxicants potently inhibit CPO-BP in vivo (i.p., 2 h) (50% inhibition at 2-25 mg/kg) and in vitro (50% inhibition at 8-68 nM). Using three chemical labeling reagents, i.e., [(3)H]CPO and the activity-based proteomic probes fluorophosphonate-biotin and fluorophosphonate-rhodamine, mouse brain CPO-BP is identified as serine hydrolase KIAA1363 of unknown function. Brains from KIAA1363(-/-) mice show greatly reduced levels of CPO labeling and hydrolytic metabolism compared to brains from wild-type mice. KIAA1363 therefore is the principal enzyme for metabolizing low levels of CPO in brain and may play a more general role in detoxification of OP nerve poisons.