The Bacillus subtilis flhA gene lies in the major che/fla operon, a transcription unit that spans 26 kilobases (kb) of DNA. flhA encodes a 677-amino-acid polypeptide that is a strong candidate for an integral membrane protein. The sequence of FlhA displays substantial homology to a newly identified family of putative signal-transducing receptors that have been implicated in diverse cellular processes. FlhA is the first member of this family to be described from a Gram-positive bacterium. We demonstrate that flhA is a flagellar gene and that FlhA is required in trans for the formation of products from some, but not all, B. subtilis motility-related operons that are regulated by the sigma D form of RNA polymerase. We suggest that FlhA is a component of a signalling system that is involved with the formation of some flagellar gene products during the biosynthesis of the flagellum.