A variety of genes are involved in determining the level of organic solvent tolerance of Escherichia coli K-12. Gene ostA is one of the genes contributing to the level of organic solvent tolerance. This gene was cloned from an n-hexane-tolerant strain of E. coli, JA300. A JA300-based n-hexane-sensitive strain, OST4251, was converted to the n-hexane-tolerant phenotype by transformation with DNA containing the ostA gene derived from JA300. Thus, the cloned ostA gene complemented the n-hexane-sensitive phenotype of OST4251.