The genome of the hyperthermophilic bacterium Thermotoga maritima contains the genes that encode core subunits of the protein translocase, a complex consisting of the molecular motor SecA and the protein conducting pore SecYE. In addition, we identified an erroneous sequence in the genome encoding for a putative secG gene. The genes of the T. maritima translocase subunits were overexpressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. T. maritima SecA showed a basal thermostable ATPase activity that was stimulated up to 4-fold by phospholipids with an optimum at 74 degrees C. Membrane vesicles and proteoliposomes containing SecYE or SecYEG supported 2- to 4-fold stimulation of the precursor dependent SecA ATPase activity. Imaging of small two-dimensional crystals of the SecYE complex using electron microscopy showed square-shaped particles with a side-length of about 6 nm. These results demonstrate that in T. maritima a highly thermostable translocase complex is operational.