The molecular cloning and the determination of the nucleotide sequence of the ispA gene responsible for farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) synthase [EC 220.127.116.11] activity in Escherichia coli are described. E. coli ispA strains have temperature-sensitive FPP synthase, and the defective gene is located at about min 10 on the chromosome. The wild-type ispA gene was subcloned from a lambda phage clone containing the chromosomal fragment around min 10, picked up from the aligned genomic library of Kohara et al. [Kohara, Y., Akiyama, K., & Isono, K. (1987) Cell 50, 495-508]. The cloned gene was identified as the ispA gene by the recovery and amplification of FPP synthase activity in an ispA strain. A 1,452-nucleotide sequence of the cloned fragment was determined. This sequence specifies two open reading frames, ORF-1 and ORF-2, encoding proteins with the expected molecular weights of 8,951 and 32,158, respectively. A part of the deduced amino acid sequence of ORF-2 showed similarity to the sequences of eucaryotic FPP synthases and of crtE product of a photosynthetic bacterium. The plasmid carrying ORF-2 downstream of the lac promoter complemented the defect of FPP synthase activity of the ispA mutant, showing that the product encoded by ORF-2 is the ispA product. The maxicell analysis indicated that a protein of molecular weight 36,000, approximately consistent with the molecular weight of the deduced ORF-2-encoded protein, is the gene product.