Biocatalytic peptide synthesis will benefit from enzymes that are active at low water levels in organic solvent compositions that allow good substrate and product solubility. To explore the use of proteases from thermophiles for peptide synthesis under such conditions, putative protease genes of the subtilase class were cloned from Thermus aquaticus and Deinococcus geothermalis and expressed in Escherichia coli. The purified enzymes were highly thermostable and catalyzed efficient peptide bond synthesis at 80°C and 60°C in neat acetonitrile with excellent conversion (>90%). The enzymes tolerated high levels of N,N-dimethylformamide (DMF) as a cosolvent (40-50% v/v), which improved substrate solubility and gave good conversion in 5+3 peptide condensation reactions. The results suggest that proteases from thermophiles can be used for peptide synthesis under harsh reaction conditions.