In enteric bacteria, the expression of many genes encoding various anaerobic electron transfer functions is controlled by FNR, the product of the autoregulated fnr gene. FNR is structurally and functionally homologous to CAP, the catabolite gene activator protein, and increased FNR production strongly stimulates transcription of its target genes. By analysis of RNA produced in vivo the promoters of four FNR-dependent genes were localized and shown to display a common arrangement. A 22bp dyad symmetry was found about 30 nucleotides upstream of the transcriptional startpoints and a similar sequence was shown to overlap the site of transcription initiation in the negatively controlled fnr gene. The consensus sequence for the half site recognized by FNR (AAA-TTGAT) is only slightly different from that of CAP (AA-TGTGA). Studies with two mutant frd promoters from Escherichia coli, displaying altered regulation and FNR response, provided additional evidence for recognition of this sequence by FNR.