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DNA sequence analysis has revealed that an unidentified open reading frame (ufr1) is present immediately preceding the aroB gene of Escherichia coli. The predicted protein product of urf1 contains a consensus ATP-binding-site sequence and shows 34% amino acid homology to shikimate kinase II in a 97-amino-acid region. Inactivation of urf1 by insertion of an antibiotic resistance gene had a polar effect on aroB, indicating that these two genes constitute a transcriptional unit. The auxotrophic requirements of a strain mutant for both urf1 and aroL (encoding shikimate kinase II) are consistent with shikimate kinase deficiency. We propose that urf1 encodes shikimate kinase I and that it be designated aroK.