The gene encoding the delta' subunit of DNA polymerase III holoenzyme, designated holB, was cloned by a strategy in which peptide sequence was used to derive a DNA hybridization probe. The gene maps to 24.95 centisomes of the chromosome. Sequencing of holB revealed a 1,002-bp open reading frame predicted to produce a 36,936-Da protein. The gene has a ribosome-binding site and promoter that are highly similar to the consensus sequences and is flanked by two potential open reading frames. Protein sequence analysis of delta' revealed a high degree of similarity to the dnaX gene products of Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, including one stretch of 10 identical amino acid residues. A lesser degree of similarity to the gene 44 protein of bacteriophage T4 and the 40-kDa protein of the A1 complex (replication factor C) of HeLa cells was seen. The gene, when placed into a tac promoter-based expression plasmid, directed expression of two proteins of similar size. By immunodetection with anti-holoenzyme immunoglobulin G, both proteins are judged to be products of holB.