Within the framework of an international project for the sequencing of the entire Bacillus subtilis genome, a 29 kb chromosome segment, which contains the hut operon (335 degrees) and the wapA gene, has been cloned and sequenced. This region (28,954 bp) contains 21 complete ORFs and one partial one. The 5th, 6th and 17th genes correspond to hutH encoding histidase, hutP encoding the positive regulator for the hut operon and wapA encoding a precursor of three major wall-associated proteins, respectively. A homology search for their products deduced from the 21 complete ORFs revealed that nine of them exhibit significant homology to known proteins such as urocanase (Pseudomonas putida), a protein involved in clavulanic acid biosynthesis (Streptomyces griseus), amino acid permeases (lysine, Escherichia coli; histidine, Saccharomyces cerevisiae; and others), beta-glucoside-specific phosphotransferases (E. coli and Erwinia chrysanthemi) and 6-phospho-beta-glucosidases (E. coli and Erw. chrysanthemi). Based on the features of the determined sequence and the results of the homology search, as well as on genetic data and sequence of the hut genes reported by other groups, it is predicted that the B. subtilis hut operon may consist of the following six genes (6th-1st), the last of which is followed by a typical rho-independent transcription terminator: hutP, hutH, EE57A (hutU) encoding urocanase, EE57B (hutI) encoding imidazolone-5-propionate hydrolase, EE57C (hutG) encoding formiminoglutamate hydrolase and EE57D (tentatively designated as hutM) possibly encoding histidine permease. Interestingly, the direction of transcription of these hut genes is opposite to that of the movement of the replication fork.