The outer membranes of many gram-negative bacteria contain a major heat-modifiable protein which shows serological cross-reactivity with the OmpA protein of Escherichia coli K-12. Using the cloned gene for the E. coli K12 protein as a DNA-DNA hybridization probe, we were able to identify the corresponding genes from Shigella dysenteriae. Enterobacter aerogenes, and Serratia marcescens. These were cloned in a phage lambda vector, and their expression in E. coli K-12 was studied. All three OmpA proteins were fully produced and correctly exported to the outer membrane. In several cases, complete or partial restoration of known function of the E. coli K-12 protein was observed.