In this communication we present evidence that indicates that 1,2-propanediol (1,2-PDL) is a positive effector of the transcription of the cobalamin (vitamin B12) biosynthetic (cob) operon and of the 1,2-PDL utilization (pdu) genes. The stimulatory effects of 1,2-PDL were demonstrated using Mu d-lac transcriptional fusions to cob and pdu. Significantly increased levels of transcription of the cob and pdu operon fusions were measured in cultures grown under both anoxic and highly aerated conditions when 1,2-PDL was present in the culture medium. We have isolated mutants that carry lesions that render both pdu and cob transcription unresponsive to 1,2-PDL. These mutations were mapped to the region between cob and pdu (41 min), and they define the poc locus PDL and cobalamin). The poc locus is required for the positive regulatory effects of 1,2-PDL to be exerted. Complementation of Poc function was achieved in trans by an F' plasmid carrying the poc+ locus, suggesting that at least one diffusible product regulates the expression of cob and pdu in S. typhimurium.