A gene encoding kojibiose phosphorylase was cloned from Thermoanaerobacter brockii ATCC35047. The kojP gene encodes a polypeptide of 775 amino acid residues. The deduced amino acid sequence was homologous to those of trehalose phosphorylase from T. brockii and maltose phosphorylases from Bacillus sp. and Lactobacillus brevis with 35%, 29% and 28% identities, respectively. Kojibiose phosphorylase was efficiently overexpressed in Escherichia coli JM109. The DNA sequence of 3956 bp analyzed in this study contains three open reading frames (ORFs) downstream of kojP. The four ORFs, kojP, kojE, kojF, and kojG, form a gene cluster. The amino acid sequences deduced from kojE and kojF are similar to those of the N-terminal and C-terminal regions of a sugar-binding periplasmic protein from Thermoanaerobacter tengcongensis MB4. Furthermore, the amino acid sequence deduced from kojG is similar to that of a permease of the ABC-type sugar transport systems from T. tengcongensis MB4. Each of three amino acid substitutions, D362N, K614Q and E642Q, caused a complete loss of kojibiose phosphorylase activity. These results suggest that D362, K614 and E642 play an important role in catalysis. Another mutation, D459N, increased K(m) values for kojibiose (7-fold that for the wild type), beta-G1P (11-fold) and glucose (7-fold), whereas K(m) for inorganic phosphate was minimally affected by this mutation, suggesting that D459 may be involved in the binding to saccharides.