An O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase (OASS) from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Aeropyrum pernix K1, which shares the pyridoxal 5'-phosphate binding motif with both OASS and cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS), was cloned and expressed by using Escherichia coli Rosetta(DE3). The purified protein was a dimer and contained pyridoxal 5'-phosphate. It was shown to be an enzyme with CBS activity as well as OASS activity in vitro. The enzyme retained 90% of its activity after a 6-h incubation at 100 degrees C. In the O-acetyl-L-serine sulfhydrylation reaction, it had a pH optimum of 6.7, apparent K(m) values for O-acetyl-L-serine and sulfide of 28 and below 0.2 mM, respectively, and a rate constant of 202 s(-1). In the L-cystathionine synthetic reaction, it showed a broad pH optimum in the range of 8.1 to 8.8, apparent K(m) values for L-serine and L-homocysteine of 8 and 0.51 mM, respectively, and a rate constant of 0.7 s(-1). A. pernix OASS has a high activity in the L-cysteine desulfurization reaction, which produces sulfide and S-(2,3-hydroxy-4-thiobutyl)-L-cysteine from L-cysteine and dithiothreitol.