Histamine production from histidine in fermented food results in food spoilage, and is harmful to consumers. From fish-miso, we have isolated a new bacterial strain Staphylococcus epidermidis TYH1, which produced histamine under acidic condition in the medium supplemented with glucose. Using oligonucleotides deduced from the histidine decarboxylase gene (hdcA) of Lactobacillus hilgardii, about 14-kbp DNA region of the TYH1 genome was cloned and sequenced. This region contained two putative genes hdcA(TYH1) and hdcP(TYH1) encoding proteins HdcA(TYH1) (310 amino acid residues) and HdcP(TYH1) (495 residues), respectively. Nucleotide sequence around this hdc cluster showed similarity to SCCpbp4 region of S. epidermidis ATCC 12228. Downstream of the cluster, ccrA, ccrB (Type II, respectively) and pbp4 were located. The CcrA and CcrB proteins catalyzed excision of the hdc cluster from the TYH1 chromosome, upon introduction into the TYH1 strain via multicopy plasmid. When hdcA(TYH1) was expressed in Staphylococcus warneri M, histamine was extracellularly accumulated in dependence on exogenous histidine. These results indicate that the gene encoding a histidine decarboxylase resides in a movable genetic element, SCC. This new element is designated as SCChdc.