The DNA sequence of 168 promoter regions (-50 to +10) for Escherichia coli RNA polymerase were compiled. The complete listing was divided into two groups depending upon whether or not the promoter had been defined by genetic (promoter mutations) or biochemical (5' end determination) criteria. A consensus promoter sequence based on homologies among 112 well-defined promoters was determined that was in substantial agreement with previous compilations. In addition, we have tabulated 98 promoter mutations. Nearly all of the altered base pairs in the mutants conform to the following general rule: down-mutations decrease homology and up-mutations increase homology to the consensus sequence.