Sae is a regulatory locus that activates the production of several exoproteins in Staphylococcus aureus. A 3.4-kb fragment of a S. aureus genomic library, screened with a probe adjacent to the transposon insertion of a sae::Tn551 mutant, was cloned into a bifunctional vector. This fragment was shown to carry the sae locus by restoration of exoprotein production in sae mutants. The sae locus was mapped to the SmaI-D fragment of the staphylococcal chromosome by pulse-field electrophoresis. Sequence analysis of the cloned fragment revealed the presence of two genes, designated saeR and saeS, encoding a response regulator and a histidine protein kinase, respectively, with high homology to other bacterial two-component regulatory systems.