The cobA locus of Salmonella typhimurium is involved in the assimilation of nonadenosylated cobinamide, (CN)2CBI, into cobalamin (CBL) under aerobic and anaerobic growth conditions. Aerobically, cobA mutants are unable to assimilate (CN)2CBI into CBL. However, under anaerobic conditions, cobA mutants assimilate (CN)2CBI into CBL as efficiently as cobA+ strains. On the basis of this observation, we postulated the existence of a cobA-independent pathway for the assimilation of (CN)2CBI into CBL that is functional under anaerobic growth conditions (J. C. Escalante-Semerena, S.-J. Suh, and J. R. Roth, J. Bacteriol. 172:273-280, 1990). In this paper, we report the isolation and initial genetic characterization of derivatives of cobA mutants that are unable to assimilate (CN)2CBI into CBL during anaerobic growth. As demonstrated by complementation analysis, marker rescue, and DNA sequencing data, these mutations are alleles of cobU, a gene involved in the assembly of the nucleotide loop of CBL. We have shown that the block in CBL synthesis in these cobU cobA double mutant strains can be corrected by exogenous adenosyl-CBI. Our data indicate that this new class of cobU mutations blocks CBL biosynthesis but does not destroy the putative kinase-guanylyltransferase activities of the CobU protein. We propose that this new class of cobU mutations may affect an as yet unidentified ATP:corrinoid adenosyltransferase activity of the CobU protein. Alternatively, such mutations may alter the ability of CobU to use nonadenosylated CBI as a substrate.