The entire gene cluster encoding enzymes involved in biosynthesis of L-tryptophan in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus kodakaraensis KOD1 has been cloned and sequenced. Seven ORFs, which encode indole-3-glycerol phosphate synthase (trpC), anthranilate phosphoribosyltransferase (trpD), the two subunits of anthranilate synthase (trpEG), phosphoribosyl anthranilate isomerase (trpF) and the two subunits of tryptophan synthase (trpAB), were identified. The gene order is trpCDEGFBA, covering a region of 6045 bp. In order to confirm the function of the gene products, we expressed the first gene, Pk-trpC, in Escherichia coli. The protein product was purified, and was found to show the expected indole-3-glycerol phosphate synthase activity, with a temperature optimum of 85 degrees C. We could clearly identify a single mRNA transcript by Northern analysis using probes in the central and 3'-regions of the gene cluster, indicating that the gene cluster is transcribed as an operon. A significant increase in trp mRNA level was observed in cells grown in medium depleted of L-tryptophan, compared to cells grown in medium supplemented with L-tryptophan, indicating that expression of the gene cluster is regulated at the transcriptional level.