The pathway for the synthesis of glucosylglycerate (GG) in the thermophilic bacterium Persephonella marina is proposed based on the activities of recombinant glucosyl-3-phosphoglycerate (GPG) synthase (GpgS) and glucosyl-3-phosphoglycerate phosphatase (GpgP). The sequences of gpgS and gpgP from the cold-adapted bacterium Methanococcoides burtonii were used to identify the homologues in the genome of P. marina, which were separately cloned and overexpressed as His-tagged proteins in Escherichia coli. The recombinant GpgS protein of P. marina, unlike the homologue from M. burtonii, which was specific for GDP-glucose, catalyzed the synthesis of GPG from UDP-glucose, GDP-glucose, ADP-glucose, and TDP-glucose (in order of decreasing efficiency) and from d-3-phosphoglycerate, with maximal activity at 90 degrees C. The recombinant GpgP protein, like the M. burtonii homologue, dephosphorylated GPG and mannosyl-3-phosphoglycerate (MPG) to GG and mannosylglycerate, respectively, yet at high temperatures the hydrolysis of GPG was more efficient than that of MPG. Gel filtration indicates that GpgS is a dimeric protein, while GpgP is monomeric. This is the first characterization of genes and enzymes for the synthesis of GG in a thermophile.