Background: Human phospholipid scramblase 1 (hPLSCR1) was initially identified as a Ca2+ dependent phospholipid translocator involved in disrupting membrane asymmetry. Recent reports revealed that hPLSCR1 acts as a multifunctional signaling molecule rather than functioning as scramblase. hPLSCR1 is overexpressed in a variety of tumor cells and is known to interact with a number of protein molecules implying diverse functions. Results: In this study, the nuclease activity of recombinant hPLSCR1 and its biochemical properties have been determined. Point mutations were generated to identify the critical region responsible for the nuclease activity. Recombinant hPLSCR1 exhibits Mg2+ dependent nuclease activity with an optimum pH and temperature of 8.5 and 37 °C respectively. Experiments with amino acid modifying reagents revealed that histidine, cysteine and arginine residues were crucial for its function. hPLSCR1 has five histidine residues and point mutations of histidine residues to alanine in hPLSCR1 resulted in 60 % loss in nuclease activity. Thus histidine residues could play a critical role in the nuclease activity of hPLSCR1. Conclusions: This is the first report on the novel nuclease activity of the multi-functional hPLSCR1. hPLSCR1 shows a metal dependent nuclease activity which could play a role in key cellular processes that needs to be further investigated. © 2016 Sivagnanam et al.