The F-type ATPases are found in remarkably similar versions in the energy-transducing membranes of bacteria, chloroplasts and mitochondria (1). Thus, it is likely that they have originated early in the evolution of life, which is consistent with their function as key enzymes of cellular metabolism. The archaea (formerly called archaebacteria) are a group of microorganisms which, as shown by molecular sequencing and biochemical data, have diverged early from the main line of prokaryotic evolution (2). From studies of members of all three major groups of archaea, the halophiles, methanogens and thermoacidophiles, it emerged that they possess a membrane ATPase, which differs from the F-ATPases. The goal of this project was a comparison of the ATPase from the halophilic archaebacterium Halobacterium saccharovorum with the well-characterized F-type ATPases on the molecular level. The results were expected to allow a decision about the nature of archaebacterial ATPases, their classification as one of the known or, alternatively, novel enzyme complex, and possibly a deduction of events during the early evolution of energy-transducing systems.