As genomic sequence data become more prevalent, the challenges in microbial physiology shift from identifying biochemical pathways to understanding the interactions that occur between them to create a robust but responsive metabolism. One of the most powerful methods to identify such interactions is in vivo phenotypic analysis. We have utilized thiamine synthesis as a model to detect subtle metabolic interactions due to the sensitivity allowed by the small cellular requirement for this vitamin. Although purine biosynthesis produces an intermediate in thiamine synthesis, mutants blocked in the first step of de novo purine biosynthesis (PurF) are able to grow in the absence of thiamine owing to an alternative synthesis. A number of general metabolic defects have been found to prevent PurF-independent thiamine synthesis. Here we report stimulation of thiamine-independent growth caused by a mutation in one or both genes encoding the pyruvate kinase isozymes. The results presented herein represent the first phenotype described for mutants defective in pykA or pykF, and thus identify metabolic interactions that exist in vivo.