The hyperthermophilic archaeon, Pyrococcus furiosus, was grown on maltose near its optimal growth temperature, 95 degrees C, and at the lower end of the temperature range for significant growth, 72 degrees C. In addition, cultures were shocked by rapidly dropping the temperature from 95 to 72 degrees C. This resulted in a 5-h lag phase, during which time little growth occurred. Transcriptional analyses using whole-genome DNA microarrays representing 2,065 open reading frames (ORFs) in the P. furiosus genome showed that cells undergo three very different responses at 72 degrees C: an early shock (1 to 2 h), a late shock (5 h), and an adapted response (occurring after many generations at 72 degrees C). Each response involved the up-regulation in the expression of more than 30 ORFs unique to that response. These included proteins involved in translation, solute transport, amino acid biosynthesis, and tungsten and intermediary carbon metabolism, as well as numerous conserved-hypothetical and/or membrane-associated proteins. Two major membrane proteins were evident after one-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate-gel analysis of cold-adapted cells, and staining revealed them to be glycoproteins. Their cold-induced expression evident from the DNA microarray analysis was confirmed by quantitative PCR. Termed CipA (PF0190) and CipB (PF1408), both appear to be solute-binding proteins. While the archaea do not contain members of the bacterial cold shock protein (Csp) family, they all contain homologs of CipA and CipB. These proteins are also related phylogenetically to some cold-responsive genes recently identified in certain bacteria. The Cip proteins may represent a general prokaryotic-type cold response mechanism that is present even in hyperthermophilic archaea.