We constructed the plasmid pTTB151 in which the E. coli bioB gene was expressed under the control of the tac promoter. Conversion of dethiobiotin to biotin was demonstrated in cell-free extracts of E. coli carrying this plasmid. The requirements for this biotin-forming reaction included fructose-1,6-bisphosphate, Fe2+, S-adenosyl-L-methionine, NADPH, and KCl, as well as dethiobiotin as the substrate. The enzymes were partially purified from cell-free extracts by a procedure involving ammonium sulfate fractionation. Our results suggest that an unidentified enzyme(s) besides the bioB gene product is obligatory for the conversion of dethiobiotin to biotin.