The capsule of Bacillus anthracis is an important virulence factor consisting of poly-D-glutamic acid. The genetic region required for the encapsulation was cloned in Escherichia coli from the capsule plasmid pTE702, using a selection procedure based on an immunodiffusion assay. The cloned region directed synthesis of the capsule both in E. coli and B. anthracis. Capsule synthesis from these clones, as in the wild type, was dependent upon the presence of CO2. However, encapsulation directed by the cloned fragment was less marked than from pTE702. Another region enhancing capsulation was shown to exist on pTE702. The minimum size of the encapsulation region was defined to within 2.7 kb DNA and shown to be essential for the encapsulation in B. anthracis.