We report the utilization of site-directed and random mutagenesis procedures in the gene encoding nucleoside diphosphate kinase (ndk) from Pseudomonas aeruginosa in order to examine the role of Ndk in the production of alginate by this organism. Cellular levels of the 16-kDa form of the Ndk enzyme are greatly reduced in P. aeruginosa 8830 with a knockout mutation in the algR2 gene (8830R2::Cm); this strain is also defective in the production of the exopolysaccharide alginate. In this study, we isolated four mutations in ndk (Ala-14-->Pro [Ala14Pro], Gly21Val, His117Gln, and Ala125Arg) which resulted in the loss of Ndk biochemical activity; hyperexpression of any of these four mutant genes did not restore alginate production to 8830R2::Cm. We identified six additional amino acid residues (Ser-43, Ala-56, Ser-69, Glu-80, Gly-91, and Asp-135) whose alteration resulted in the inability of Ndk to complement alginate production. After hyperproduction in 8830R2::Cm, it was determined that each of these six mutant Ndks was biochemically active. However, in four cases, the in vivo levels of Ndk were reduced, which consequently affected the growth of 8830R2::Cm in the presence of Tween 20. Two mutant Ndk proteins which could not complement the alginate synthesis defect in 8830R2::Cm were not affected in any characteristic examined in the present study. All of the mutant Ndks characterized which were still biochemically active formed membrane complexes with Pk, resulting in GTP synthesis. Two of the four Ndk activity mutants (His117Gln and Ala125Arg) identified were capable of being truncated to 12 kDa and formed a membrane complex with Pk; however, the complexes formed were inactive for GTP synthesis. The other two Ndk activity mutants could be truncated to 12 kDa but were not detected in membrane fractions. These results further our understanding of the role of Ndk in alginate synthesis and identify amino acid residues in Ndk which have not previously been studied as critical to this process.