The Escherichia coli priming system used for initiation of DNA chains on phage phi X174 single-stranded DNA is a multiprotein unit called the primosome [Arai, K. & Kornberg. A. (1981) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 78, 69-73]. Assembled with participation of seven prepriming proteins and primase at a unique place on the phi X174 DNA template, the primosome is bound tightly to the DNA, yet moves rapidly and unidirectionally opposite to primer and DNA chain synthesis. Contributions of protein n' and dnaB protein, two components of the primosome, to movement and site selection for priming are considered in this report. Figuratively, the primosome can be likened to a locomotive that depends on protein n' as its engine and dnaB protein as the engineer. Protein n', a DNA-dependent ATPase (dATPase) appears to use the energy of hydrolysis of the nucleoside triphosphate for processive translocation of the primosome. dnaB protein, A DNA-dependent ribonucleosidetriphosphatase, depends on allosteric effects of a nucleoside triphosphate to induce changes in the structure of the single-stranded DNA at preferred sequences that enable primase to synthesize a short primer for initiation of DNA synthesis (unpublished data). These primosome properties have important implications for the progress of the replication fork of the E. coli chromosome.