The flagellar basal body of Salmonella typhimurium consists of four rings surrounding a rod. The rod, which is believed to transmit motor rotation to the filament, is not well characterized in terms of its structure and composition. FlgG is known to lie within the distal portion of the rod, in the region where it is surrounded by the L and P rings, just before the rod-hook junction. The FlgC and FlgF proteins are also known to be flagellar basal-body components; by comparison of deduced and experimental N-terminal amino acid sequences we show here that FlgB is a basal-body protein. The flgB, flgC, flgF and flgG gene sequences and the deduced protein sequences are presented. The four proteins are clearly related to each other in primary sequence, especially toward the N and C termini, supporting the hypothesis (based on examination of basal-body subfractions) that FlgB, FlgC and FlgF are, like FlgG, rod proteins. From this and other information we suggest that the rod is the cell-proximal part of a segmented axial structure of the flagellum, with FlgB, FlgC and FlgF located (in unknown order) in successive segments of the proximal rod, followed by FlgG located in the distal rod; the axial structure then continues with the hook, HAPs and filament. Although the rod is external to the cell membrane, none of the four rod proteins contains a consensus signal sequence for the primary export pathway; comparison with the experimentally determined N-terminal amino acid sequence indicates that FlgB has had its N-terminal methionine removed, while the other three are not processed at all. This demonstrates that these proteins are not exported by the primary cellular pathway, and suggests that they are exported by the same flagellum-specific pathway as the flagellar filament protein flagellin. The observed sequence similarities among the rod proteins, especially a six-residue consensus motif about 30 residues in from the N terminus, may constitute a recognition signal for this pathway or they may reflect higher-order structural similarities within the rod.