We have cloned DNA fragments from Bacillus subtilis 168S into Escherichia coli, which produced a lytic zone on an agar medium containing B. subtilis cell wall. Sequencing of the fragments showed the presence of an open reading frame (ORF) which encodes a polypeptide of 272 amino acids with a molecular mass of 29919 Da. The deduced amino acid sequence showed considerable homology with that of the cell wall hydrolase gene of Bacillus sp. (Potvin, C., Leclerc, D., Tremblay, G., Asselin, A. & Bellemare, G. (1988). Molecular and General Genetics 214, 241-248). Accordingly, the gene was designated cwlA, for cell wall lysis. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of cwlA gene product prepared from a E. coli clone was AIKVVKNLVSKSKYGLKCPN, which is consistent with that of the deduced sequence starting from Ala at second position from the initiation codon of the cwlA gene. A presumed sigma A promoter and a rho-independent terminator were found upstream and downstream of the ORF, respectively. A chloramphenicol-resistance determinant integrated into the ORF was mapped by PBS1 transduction, which indicated the gene sequence dnaE-aroD-cwlA.