The kefC gene of Escherichia coli encodes a potassium-efflux system that is regulated by glutathione metabolites. The close proximity of the E. coli kefC gene to the folA gene, encoding dihydrofolate reductase, has been utilized to clone the structural gene for the system from a Clarke-Carbon plasmid. The cloned gene has been refined to a region of DNA approximately 2.1 kb in length using exonuclease III-generated deletions and random MudII1734 (lacZ) insertions. The direction of transcription has been deduced from the orientation of the Mu insertions in the cloned DNA. A hybrid protein consisting of approximately two thirds of the KefC protein fused to beta-galactosidase has been shown to be membrane-located. The DNA sequence of the gene has been determined and an open reading frame of 1.86 kb has been located which could encode a protein of 620 amino acids (79010 Da). Using the T7 expression system a membrane protein, of apparent molecular mass 55-60 kDa, has been shown to be encoded by the kefC gene. The predicted protein sequence shows a highly hydrophobic amino-terminus and a strongly hydrophilic carboxy-terminus. Comparison of the amino acid sequence of the kefC gene product with those of two glutathione-utilizing enzymes, glyoxalase and dehalogenase, has revealed some similarities.