A recombinant form of the elongation factor 2 from the archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus (SsEF-2), carrying the A26G substitution, has been produced and characterized. The amino acid replacement converted the guanine nucleotide binding consensus sequences A-X-X-X-X-G-K-[T,S] of the elongation factors EF-G or EF-2 into the corresponding G-X-X-X-X-G-K-[T,S] motif which is present in all the other GTP-binding proteins. The rate of poly(U)-directed poly(Phe) synthesis and the ribosome-dependent GTPase activity of A26GSsEF-2 were decreased compared to SsEF-2, thus indicating that the A26G replacement partially affected the function of SsEF-2 during translocation. In contrast, the A26G substitution enhanced the catalytic efficiency of the intrinsic SsEF-2 GTPase triggered by ethylene glycol [Raimo, G., Masullo, M., Scarano, G., & Bocchini, V. (1997) Biochimie 78, 832±837]. Surprisingly, A26GSsEF-2 was able to hydrolyse GTP even in the absence of ethylene glycol; furthermore, the alcohol increased the affinity for GTP without modifying the catalytic constant of A26GSsEF-2 GTPase. Compared to SsEF-2, the affinity of A26GSsEF-2 for [3H]GDP was significantly reduced. These findings suggest that A26 is a regulator of the biochemical functions of SsEF-2. The involvement of this alanine residue in the guanine nucleotide binding pocket of EF-2 or EF-G is discussed.