The nucleotide sequence of a region of wheat chloroplast DNA containing the psbB gene for the 47 kDa chlorophyll a-binding protein of photosystem II has been determined. The gene encodes a polypeptide of 508 amino acid residues which is predicted to contain six hydrophobic membrane-spanning regions. The psbB gene is located 562 bp upstream of the psbH gene for the 10 kDa phosphoprotein of photosystem II. A small open reading frame of 38 codons is located between psbB and psbH, and on the opposite strand the psbN gene, encoding a photosystem II polypeptide of 43 amino acid residues, is located between orf38 and psbH. S1 nuclease mapping indicated that the 5' ends of transcripts were located 371 and 183 bp upstream of the psbB translation initiation codon. Predominant transcripts of 2.1 kb and 1.8 kb for psbB and 0.4 kb for psbH were present in RNA isolated from etiolated and greening wheat seedlings. Immunodecoration of Western blots indicated that the 47 kDa polypeptide was absent, or present in very low amounts, in dark-grown tissue and accumulated on greening, whereas the 10 kDa polypeptide was present in similar amounts in both dark-grown and greening seedlings. The 10 kDa polypeptide was phosphorylated in vitro by incubating wheat etioplast membranes with [gamma 32P] ATP.