The sequences of the intergenic regions of the strongly expressed genes encoding methyl CoM reductase in three different methanogenic archaebacteria were determined and the 5'-ends of the transcripts were mapped. After alignment, consensus sequences were found which are located both upstream and downstream of the transcription starts. They correspond, in part, to those previously characterized as putative elements of archaebacterial promoter sequences. In addition, bending of the DNA in front of the transcription start sites was shown in two cases and a characteristic common DNA structure immediately downstream of the 5'-end of the transcript was discovered. This structure was also found in the corresponding regions of previously described genes in methanogens. Our results suggest that both sequence and structural information may have roles in the initiation of transcription of protein encoding genes of these archaebacteria.