Cytochrome oxidase from T. thermophilus is isolated as a noncovalent complex of cytochromes c1 and aa3 in which the four redox components of aa3 appear to be associated with a single approximately 55,000-D subunit while the heme C is associated with a approximately 33,000-D peptide (Yoshida, T., Lorence, R. M., Choc, M. G., Tarr, G. E., Findling, K. L., and Fee, J. A. (1983) J. Biol. Chem. 258, 112-123). We have examined the steady state transfer of electrons from ascorbate to oxygen by cytochrome c1aa3 as mediated by horse heart, Candida krusei, and T. thermophilus (c552) cytochromes c as well as tetramethylphenylenediamine (TMPD). These mediators exhibit simple Michaelis-Menten kinetic behavior yielding Vmax and KM values characteristic of the experimental conditions. Three classes of kinetic behavior were observed and are qualitatively discussed in terms of a reaction scheme. The data show that tetramethylphenyldiamine and cytochromes c react with the enzyme at independent sites; it is suggested that cytochrome c1 may efficiently transfer electrons to cytochrome aa3. When incorporated into phospholipid vesicles, the highly purified cytochrome c1aa3 was found to translocate one proton into the exterior medium for each molecule of cytochrome c552 oxidized. The combined results suggest that this bacterial enzyme functions in a manner generally identical with the more complex eucaryotic enzyme.