The oligopeptide permease (Opp) of Salmonella typhimurium is a periplasmic binding protein-dependent transport system and handles any peptides containing from two to five amino acid residues. Opp plays an important nutritional role and is also required for the recycling of cell wall peptides. We have determined the nucleotide sequence of the opp operon. In addition to the four opp genes identified previously by genetic means (oppABCD) a fifth gene, oppF, is shown to be cotranscribed as part of the opp operon. Using reverse genetics, we show that oppF also encodes an essential component of the Opp transport system. The five proteins, OppABCDF, are shown to be the only proteins required for Opp function. Regulation of opp expression and of the differential expression of genes within the operon is investigated. We have devised a simple means of constructing lacZ gene fusions to any S. typhimurium chromosomal gene in vivo, using derivatives of bacteriophage Mu. Using this procedure, opp-lacZ gene fusions were selected. The resultant Opp-LacZ hybrid proteins were used to show that OppB, OppC and OppD are membrane-associated proteins. A detailed comparison of the Opp components with those of other binding protein-dependent transport systems provides insight into the mechanisms and evolution of these transport systems.