The arcA (dye) and arcB genes of Escherichia coli are responsible for anaerobic repression of target operons and regulons of aerobic function (the arc modulon). The amino acid sequence of ArcA (Dye) indicated that it is the regulator protein of a two-component control system. Here we show that ArcB is a membrane sensor protein on the basis of its deduced amino acid sequence (778 residues), hydropathicity profile, and cellular distribution. On the carboxyl end of the ArcB sequence there is an additional domain showing homology with conserved regions of regulator proteins. Deletion into this domain destroyed ArcB function. ArcB conserved a histidine residue for autophosphorylation of the sensor proteins, and aspartic residues important for the regulator proteins.