The level of translation of recF-lacZ fusions is reduced 20-fold by nucleotides 49 to 146 of recF. In this region of recF, we found a previously described ribosome-interactive sequence called epsilon and a hexapyrimidine tract located just upstream of the epsilon sequence. Mutational studies indicate that the hexapyrimidine sequence is involved in at least some of the reduced translation. When the hexapyrimidine sequence is mutant, mutating epsilon increases the level of translation maximally. We ruled out the possibility that ribosome frameshifting explains most of the effect of these two sequences on expression and suspect that multiple mechanisms may be responsible. In a separate report, we show that mutations in the hexapyrimidine tract and epsilon increase expression of the full-sized recF gene.