The production of the bacterial DNA replication inhibitor Microcin B17 is induced as cultures enter stationary phase. Using S1 nuclease protection assays we have shown that this induction is the result of increased levels of transcription initiation from a promoter located upstream from mcbA, the structural gene for Microcin B17. Upstream from the start site of transcription there is a rather typical -35 region. However, there is no good homology to the consensus -10 region. While most of the cell's transcription is shut off as a result of the cessation of growth, transcription from the mcbA promoter continues for several hours in stationary phase. A single-copy gene fusion between mcbA and lacZ was used to monitor the response of the promoter to different nutritional conditions and in different host backgrounds altered in metabolic regulatory loci. Starvation for nitrogen, phosphate or carbon sources all induced transcription from the promoter. Levels of transcription were reduced in ompR backgrounds. In contrast, mutations in other global regulatory loci, fnr, relA and cya had little or no effect.