274 N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG)-induced forward mutations in the lacI gene of an Escherichia coli RecA- strain were cloned and sequenced. Base substitutions accounted for 264 mutations and consisted of 261 G:C----A:T transitions (including one double mutant with two G:C----A:T transitions separated by 25 base pairs), two A:T----G:C transitions and one A:T----T:A transversion. Therefore, 263 of the 274 mutations (all the transitions) can be explained as a result of the direct mispairing of O6-methylguanine, and O4-methylthymine residues during DNA synthesis. The source of the transversion is not known. The remaining mutations, one 16-base pair deletion, two -1 frameshifts and 7 frameshifts at the lacI frameshift hotspot, are located in runs of identical bases or flanked by directly repeated DNA sequences and can therefore be explained by template slippage events during DNA synthesis. The observed distribution of mutations recovered is identical to that found in a RecA+ background indicating little involvement of RecA function in MNNG-induced mutation. Analysis of neighbouring base sequence revealed that the G:C----A:T transition was 6 times more likely to be recovered if the mutated guanine residue was preceded by a purine rather than a pyrimidine. A most striking aspect of this distribution concerns particular residues in the core domain of the lac repressor protein. Within this domain the great majority of mutations generate nonsense codons or alter Gly codons.