The T4 gene (pseT) for polynucleotide kinase (pnk) has been cloned in lambda. Induction of a lambda E-W-S-cI857 prophage in which the pseT gene can be transcribed from the late lambda promoter, PR1, leads to greater than 100-fold amplification of pnk activity; pnk comprises approximately 7% of the total soluble cell protein. The purified enzyme, as expected, is both a 5'-kinase and a 3'-phosphatase. The amino acid sequence deduced from an open reading frame identified as the pseT gene contains a sequence which corresponds particularly well with that part of the adenine nucleotide binding site of adenylate kinase shown to form a flexible loop. A deletion mutant that lacks 5'-kinase activity, and possibly also 3'-phosphatase activity, has lost two amino acids from within the proposed loop structure. A second region of the pnk sequence shares homology with phosphoglycerate kinase, yeast inorganic pyrophosphatase and histone 2b from various organisms.