A gene encoding a putative GTP-binding protein, a TrmE homologue that is highly conserved in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, was cloned from Thermotoga maritima, a hyperthermophilic bacterium. T. maritima TrmE was overexpressed in Escherichia coli and purified. TrmE has a GTPase activity but no ATPase activity. The GTPase activity can be competed with GTP, GDP, and dGTP but not with GMP, ATP, CTP, or UTP. K(m) and k(cat) at 70 degrees C were 833 microM and 9.3 min(-1), respectively. Our results indicate that TrmE is a GTP-binding protein with a very high intrinsic GTP hydrolysis rate. We also propose that TrmE homologues constitute a novel subfamily of the GTPase superfamily.