A 5.8-kbp HindIII fragment containing the sor gene which encodes the aerobically induced sulfur oxygenase/reductase of the thermoacidophilic, chemolithoautotrophic, and facultatively anaerobic archaeum Desulfurolobus ambivalens, was cloned in pUC18 by using an oligonucleotide derived from the N-terminal amino acid sequence for identification (pSOR-1/17). The native enzyme is a 550,000-molecular-weight oligomer composed of single 40,000-molecular-weight subunits; this oligomer is capable of the simultaneous oxidation and reduction of sulfur (A. Kletzin, J. Bacteriol. 171:1638-1643, 1989). From the fragment, 3,025 bp that contained the entire sor gene were sequenced. The sor gene encoded a protein with 309 amino acid residues (molecular weight, 35,317). The transcript length was determined by Northern RNA hybridization to be 960 to 1,020 nucleotides, and the transcriptional start site was mapped by primer extension analysis. The transcript of the sor gene in aerobically grown cells was amplified 38- to 42-fold relative to that in anaerobically grown cells. An initial transcriptional characterization of three neighboring genes of unknown function is also reported.