The genes encoding the desulforubidin type of dissimilatory sulfite reductase (Dsr) from the sulfate-reducing bacteria Desulfobacter vibrioformis and Desulfobulbus rhabdoformis were cloned and sequenced. Similar to the genes for dissimilatory sulfite reductase from the genera Archaeoglobus, Desulfovibrio and Desulfotomaculum the dsr genes were found to form an operon, dsrABD, where dsrA and dsrB encode the structural subunits, alpha and beta, of Dsr, respectively. dsrD encodes a conserved unknown protein apparently restricted to sulfate-reducing species. In Desulfobacter vibrioformis a fourth gene, designated dsrN, was found downstream of dsrD forming a contiguous operon, dsrABDN. DsrN showed significant sequence homology to cobyrinic a,c-diamide synthase, which is involved in the biosynthesis of vitamin B12. A function for DsrN in amidation of siroheme is likely. Analysis of the dsrAB-encoded proteins confirmed that the high conservation observed for other types of dissimilatory sulfite reductase is also found in desulforubidin. The use of Dsr sequences in unravelling the phylogeny of sulfate-reducing bacteria is discussed.