Histidine-to-aspartate (His-->Asp) phosphorelay (or two-component) systems are very common signal transduction mechanisms that are implicated in a wide variety of cellular responses to environmental stimuli in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Determination of the entire genomic sequence of Escherichia coli revealed that this gram-negative bacterium has 29 His-kinases and 32 response regulators. Of the 29 His-kinases, 23 have already been experimentally characterized at least to some extent in terms of their physiological functions. No physiological stimulus has yet been identified for each of the remaining 6 His-kinases (BasS, CreC, RstB, YfhK, YehU, and YpdA). Here we characterized the BasS-BasR two-component system with reference to its physiological function, taking genetic approaches together with genome-wide transcriptome profiling. First we showed that the hypothetical yfbE operon that appears to be implicated in the modification of lipopolysaccharides is regulated at the level of transcription in response to external iron, and then we showed that the BasS-BasR system is essential for this iron-dependent induction of yfbE. Another PhoQ-PhoP two-component system was also implicated in the full induction of yfbE in response to iron, but it was not essential. To gain more insight into the BasS-BasR system, we conducted genome-wide transcriptome analysis by microarray, finding that many of the uncovered putative iron-induced and BasS-BasR-dependent genes are somehow associated with acidic and/or anaerobic growth conditions. In this respect, it was found that mutant cells defective in the BasS-BasR system were sensitive to mild-acid growth conditions in the presence of a relatively high concentration of iron. These results are discussed with regard to a comprehensive picture of the His-->Asp phosphorelay signaling network in E. coli.