The bacteriophage T4 DNA recombination-repair gene uvsY located at or near an origin of DNA replication and adjacent to the late base plate genes 25 and 26. Our present results reveal a complex transcription pattern in the region encompassing these genes. Most significantly, uvsY and two ORFs, downstream of it, all of which are transcribed from a middle promoter before the onset of DNA replication, are also part of a larger late transcription unit which includes the base plate genes 25 and 26. The late genes 25 and 26 are transcribed not only late, but also early from one or several early promoters further upstream. Translation, however, is inhibited by secondary structures which sequester the ribosome binding site in the early transcript. We discuss possible advantages of these transcriptional patterns for T4 DNA recombination, replication, and repair. The predicted and in vivo-expressed 23.9-kDa product of gene 26 is smaller than the reported size of gene 26 protein isolated from base plates, suggesting that nascent gp26 might be processed to a larger protein during assembly.