While wild-type Escherichia coli K12 cannot grow with L-serine as carbon source, two types of mutants with altered methionine metabolism can. The first type, metJ mutants, in which the methionine biosynthetic enzymes are expressed constitutively, are able to grow with L-serine as carbon source. Furthermore, a plasmid carrying the metC gene confers ability to grow on L-serine. These observations suggest that in these mutants, L-serine deamination may be a result of a side-reaction of the metC gene product, cystathionine beta-lyase. The second type is exemplified by two newly isolated strains carrying mutations mapping between 89.6 and 90 min. These mutants use L-serine as carbon source, and also require methionine for growth with glucose at 37 degrees C and above. The phenotypes of the new mutants resemble those of both met and his constitutive mutants in some respects, but have been differentiated from both of them.