The archaeal cobY gene encodes the nonorthologous replacement of the bacterial NTP:AdoCbi kinase (EC 126.96.36.199)/GTP:AdoCbi-P guanylyltransferase (EC 188.8.131.52) and is required for de novo synthesis of AdoCbl (coenzyme B(12)). Here we show that ORF MJ1117 of the hyperthermophilic, methanogenic archaeon Methanocaldococcus jannaschii encodes a CobY protein (Mj CobY) that transfers the GMP moiety of GTP to AdoCbi-P to form AdoCbi-GDP. Results from isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) experiments show that MjCobY binds GTP (K(d) = 5 muM), but it does not bind the GTP analogues GMP-PNP (guanosine 5'-(beta,gamma)-imidotriphosphate) or GMP-PCP (guanylyl 5'-(beta,gamma)-methylenediphosphonate) nor GDP. Results from ITC experiments indicate that MjCobY binds one GTP per dimer. Results from in vivo studies support the conclusion that the 5'-deoxyadenosyl upper ligand of AdoCbi-P is required for MjCobY function. Consistent with these findings, MjCobY displayed high affinity for AdoCbi-P (K(d) = 0.76 muM) but did not bind nonadenosylated Cbi-P. Kinetic parameters for theMj CobY reaction were determined. Results from circular dichroism studies indicate that, in isolation, MjCobY denatures at 80 degrees C with a concomitant loss of activity. We propose that ORF MJ1117 of M. jannaschii be annotated as cobY to reflect its involvement in AdoCbl biosynthesis.