Using transposon TnphoA and a plate screening method, we have isolated a set of Escherichia coli strains carrying phoA fusions with genes whose expression is modulated as a function of external pH. Besides fusions with the ompF gene and the malB locus, thirteen independent fusions were analysed whose expression is maximal during growth at pHs ranging from 7.0 to 8.5 and minimal during growth at pH 5.0. Six different genetic loci, called phmA, phmB, phmC, phmD, phmE and phmF (for pH modulated) were characterized and localized on the E. coli chromosome at approx. 12, 18, 41, 45, 75 and 84 min, respectively. Expression of phmA::phoA fusions is also influenced when internal pH or environmental conditions such as osmolarity or anaerobiosis are modified. EnvZ protein is not involved in the regulation of phm::phoA fusions.