Iron is required for the intracellular and extracellular growth of Legionella pneumophila (Lp). In addition, variations in iron levels may serve as a signal for changes in gene expression. In a number of bacterial pathogens, the regulation of gene expression by iron is usually mediated by the Fur (ferric uptake regulation) repressor protein. Through complementation of an Escherichia coli fur mutation and nucleotide sequence analysis, we have cloned and characterized the Lp fur gene. Lp fur encoded a 15.0-kDa protein whose repressive activity was, as expected, highest in bacteria grown in iron-rich media. Computer analysis determined that Lp Fur had an amino-acid identity of over 54% and a similarity of over 72% to the Fur of E. coli, Yersinia pestis, Vibrio species and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The promoter region of Lp fur contained sequences homologous to the Fur-binding site, suggesting that fur is autoregulated in Lp. Finally, Southern blot hybridizations demonstrated that fur is conserved among Lp strains and Legionella species.