Clones of Aspergillus nidulans genomic DNA spanning 20 kb have been isolated and shown by a combination of classical and molecular genetic means to represent the npeA locus, previously found to be one of four loci (npeA, npeB, npeC and npeD) involved in the synthesis of penicillin. As well as containing the gene encoding the second enzyme for penicillin biosynthesis, namely isopenicillin N synthetase (IPNS) (designated ipnA), our results show that these clones (pSTA200, pSTA201 and pSTA207) contain two more genes to form a cluster of three contiguous penicillin biosynthetic genes. Our evidence suggests that these genes encode delta (L-alpha-aminoadipyl)-L-cysteinyl-D-valine synthetase (ACVS) and acyl transferase (ACYT) (designated acvA and acyA respectively), the first and third enzymes required for penicillin biosynthesis, with the gene order being acvA-ipnA-acyA. Transcripts have been identified for the three genes and their approximate sizes determined--acvA 9.5 kb, ipnA 1.4 kb and acyA 1.6 kb. All three mRNA species are observed in cells grown in fermentation medium but not in cells grown in minimal medium, suggesting that the control of penicillin biosynthesis is, in part, at the level of mRNA accumulation. Finally our results show that acvA and ipnA genes are divergently transcribed, whilst acyA is transcribed in the same orientation as ipnA.