All Xanthomonas campestris pathovars tested contain DNA which hybridizes to the large hrp gene cluster of Pseudomonas solanacearum (C.A. Boucher, F. Van Gijsegem, P.A. Barberis, M. Arlat, and C. Zischek, J. Bacteriol. 169:5626-5632, 1987). Clones carrying these sequences were isolated from genomic libraries of X. campestris pvs. campestris and vitians. Mutagenesis of the corresponding genomic regions of both pathovars gave strains defective in both pathogenicity and hypersensitive response induction. X. c. pv. campestris contained a hrp gene cluster covering about 25 kb, which was homologous and colinear over a continuous 19-kb DNA region with the P. solanacearum hrp cluster. Cross-complementation showed that X. c. pv. vitians and X. c. pv. campestris hrp sequences are functionally interchangeable, but the source of the hrp genes did not determine the compatibility-incompatibility of the host-pathogen interaction. One X. c. pv. campestris Hrp- mutant was "complemented" by specific subclones of the P. solanacearum hrp cluster, suggesting the existence of some functional homology between the clusters of the two species. Expression of hrp genes (studied by lacZ fusions) was repressed in rich medium, and in minimal medium the level of expression depended on the carbon source supplied to the cells. Transcription of hrp genes was not regulated by genes that control the synthesis of extracellular enzymes, which are required for pathogenicity. In addition X. campestris Hrp- mutants produced wild-type levels of these extracellular enzyme activities. These results suggest the existence of two independent sets of pathogenicity genes that are regulated differently.