The expression of sodA, the Escherichia coli gene encoding manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) is induced by aerobiosis and superoxide generators such as paraquat. Analysis of variants expressing sodA in the absence of oxygen has revealed that mutations in genes for two global regulatory systems, Fur (ferric uptake regulation) and Arc (aerobic respiration control), are simultaneously required for the expression of sodA in anaerobiosis. The Fur protein still represses sodA in an iron-dependent fashion in aerobiosis. Moreover, all mutants remain inducible by paraquat, indicating that the positive control of SoxR, which mediates the response to superoxide in E. coli, is still operative. Thus, in addition to the response to the superoxide-mediated oxidative stress which depends on SoxR, two global controls regulate MnSOD expression: ArcA couples MnSOD expression to respiration, and Fur couples it to the intracellular concentration of iron.