The cpxA gene of Escherichia coli K-12 encodes a membrane-associated sensor element of a two-component signal transduction system in bacteria. The cognate regulator element, however, has not yet been definitively identified. A 2.1-kb segment upstream from cpxA was amplified by polymerase chain reaction, cloned and sequenced. An open reading frame encoding 232 amino acids was found. It showed high homology to the regulator elements of two-component transduction systems. The newly identified gene, designated as cpxR, may encode the cognate protein receiving signals from CpxA.