The genes coding for yellow pigment production in Erwinia herbicola Eho10 (ATCC 39368) were cloned and localized to a 12.4-kilobase (kb) chromosomal fragment. A 2.3-kb AvaI deletion in the cloned fragment resulted in the production of a pink-yellow pigment, a possible precursor of the yellow pigment. Production of yellow pigment in both E. herbicola Eho10 and pigmented Escherichia coli clones was inhibited by glucose. When the pigment genes were transformed into a cya (adenylate cyclase) E. coli mutant, no expression was observed unless exogenous cyclic AMP was provided, which suggests that cyclic AMP is involved in the regulation of pigment gene expression. In E. coli minicells, the 12.4-kb fragment specified the synthesis of at least seven polypeptides. The 2.3-kb AvaI deletion resulted in the loss of a 37K polypeptide and the appearance of a polypeptide of 40 kilodaltons (40K polypeptide). The synthesis of the 37K polypeptide, which appears to be required for yellow pigment production, was not repressed by the presence of glucose in the culture medium, as was the synthesis of other polypeptides specified by the 12.4-kb fragment, suggesting that there are at least two types of gene regulation involved in yellow pigment synthesis. DNA hybridization studies indicated that different yellow pigment genes exist among different E. herbicola strains. None of six pigmented plant pathogenic bacteria examined, Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58, Cornyebacterium flaccumfaciens 1D2, Erwinia rubrifaciens 6D364, Pseudomonas syringae ATCC 19310, Xanthomonas campestris 25D11, and "Xanthomonas oryzae" 17D54, exhibited homology with the cloned pigment genes.