A newly identified gene in Escherichia coli, fkpA, encodes a protein with extensive similarity to the macrophage infectivity potentiator (Mip) proteins of Legionella pneumophila and Chlamydia trachomatis. The FkpA protein may be a new member of the family of FK506-binding proteins (FKBPs) because its carboxyl domain includes a sequence that matches the consensus FK506-binding motif in 40 of 48 positions, including those amino acids at the active site that form hydrogen bonds with the drug FK506. The amino acid sequence of the 29 kDa FkpA protein is 30-35% identical to the Mip proteins of L. pneumophila, L. micdadei, and C. trachomatis. Of the 270 amino acids of FkpA, 113 (42%) are identical to the sequence of one or another of these Mip proteins. Overexpression of FkpA or deletion of fkpA from the E. coli chromosome had no detrimental effect on bacterial growth, indicating that fkpA is not an essential gene. Hybridization of fkpA-specific DNA probes to genomic blots revealed that similar genes exist in several representatives of the Enterobacteriaceae. Thus, mip-like genes are not found exclusively in bacteria having a predominately intracellular life style, but instead appear to be a new FKBP subfamily that is a common constituent of many bacteria.