The yabJ gene in Bacillus subtilis is required for adenine-mediated repression of purine biosynthetic genes in vivo and codes for an acid-soluble, 14-kDa protein. The molecular mechanism of YabJ is unknown. YabJ is a member of a large, widely distributed family of proteins of unknown biochemical function. The 1.7-A crystal structure of YabJ reveals a trimeric organization with extensive buried hydrophobic surface and an internal water-filled cavity. The most important finding in the structure is a deep, narrow cleft between subunits lined with nine side chains that are invariant among the 25 most similar homologs. This conserved site is proposed to be a binding or catalytic site for a ligand or substrate that is common to YabJ and other members of the YER057c/YjgF/UK114 family of proteins.