A gene encoding 544 amino acids for a subunit of group II chaperonin (thermosome) was cloned from a thermophilic methanogen, Methanococcus thermolithotrophicus. The deduced amino acid sequence showed 66.5, 56.1, and 20.1% similarities to those of Methanopyrus kandleri and Thermoplasma acidophilum and group I chaperonin of Escherichia coli, respectively. We call this chaperonin MTTS (M. thermolithotrophicus thermosome). The MTTS gene was expressed in E. coli. The purified recombinant MTTS seemed to be monomeric on gel filtration in the absence of Mg2+ and ATP. The monomer assembled to an oligomer (complex) in the presence of 50 mM MgCl2, 0.25 mM ATP, and 0.3 M (NH4)2SO4. It was eluted immediately before the elution volume of E. coli GroEL tetradecamer on gel filtration with a TSKgel G3000SWXL column. This reconstructed MTTS complex showed the cylindrical structure with two stacked rings in electron microscopy. The MTTS complex formed filamentous structures in the presence of Mg2+ and ATP at the protein concentration above 3.0 mg/ml. This filament formation was reversible. The MTTS filament was dissociated to the complex by dilution to the protein concentration of 0.2 mg/ml, even in the presence of Mg2+ and ATP. The MTTS complex exhibited weak ATPase activity with the hydrolysis rate of 74 mol of ATP hydrolysis/mol of MTTS complex/min at 70 degreesC. The MTTS complex promoted the refolding of chemically denatured thermophilic archaeal citrate synthase and glucose dehydrogenase at 50 degreesC in an ATP-dependent fashion. The analysis of nucleotide specificity of chaperone activity of MTTS suggested that it was coupled with hydrolysis of ATP, CTP, or UTP.