The Salmonella typhi ompS1 gene codes for an outer membrane protein of the OmpC/OmpF porin family. It is expressed at very low levels, relative to the major porins. However, deletion analysis of the 5' regulatory region showed that the gradual removal of nucleotides -310 to -88, upstream from the P1 major transcriptional start-point, resulted in a stepwise increase in expression, reaching levels 10-fold above those for the ompC major porin gene. Hence, this 222 bp segment contains cis-acting regulatory elements involved in negative control. Primer extension analysis revealed the presence of three promoters: P1 activity was OmpR dependent; P2 was expressed at a lower level in the absence of OmpR; and P3 had a minor constitutive activity. OmpR bound preferentially to box II, an 18 bp F1/C1 canonical site, the removal (-88 to -66) of which resulted in a decrease in expression thus supporting its role in positive control. Expression of ompS1 was not induced by a set of stress conditions, including a shift in osmolarity, nor was the IHF regulator involved in negative control. An ompS1 homologue was found in E. coli K-12, which contains a nonsense codon and a shift in the reading frame, whereas Salmonella typhimurium contains an open reading frame in this region. Thus, S. typhi ompS1 provides novel features in OmpR regulation.