Résumé : The Pyrococcus furiosus ornithine carbamoyltransferase (OTCase) is extremely heat stable and maintains 50% of its catalytic activity after 60 min at 100°C. The enzyme has an unusual quaternary structure when compared to anabolic OTCases from mesophilic organisms. It is built up of four trimers arranged in a tetrahedral manner, while other anabolic enzymes are single trimers. Residues Trp21, Glu25, Met29 and Trp33 are located in the main interfaces that occur between the catalytic trimers within the dodecamer. They participate in either hydrophobic clusters or ionic interactions. In order to elucidate the role played by the oligomerization in the enzyme stability at very high temperatures, we performed mutagenesis studies of these residues. All the variants show similar catalytic activities and kinetic properties when compared to the wild-type enzyme, allowing the interpretation of the mutations solely on heat stability and quaternary structure. The W21A variant has only a slight decrease in its stability, and is a dodecamer. The variants E25Q, M29A, W33A, W21A/W33A and E25Q/W33A show that altering more drastically the interfaces results in a proportional decrease in heat stability, correlated with a gradual dissociation of dodecamers into trimers. Finally, the E25Q/M29A/W33A variant shows a very large decrease in heat stability and is a trimer. These results suggest that extreme thermal stabilization of this OTCase is achieved in part through oligomerization.