Two divergently oriented operons, strXU and strVW, located within the gene cluster for 5'-hydroxystreptomycin (5'-OH-Sm) biosynthesis in Streptomyces glaucescens strain GAL.0 (ETH 22794), were analysed by DNA sequencing and transcription/regulation studies. Three genes, strU and strVW, are conserved in a similar arrangement but in a different location within the str/sts gene cluster of the Sm-producing strain S. griseus N2-3-11. The four putative products resemble NDP-4-ketohexose 3,5-epimerases (StrX, M(r) 20.2 kDa), NAD(P)-dependent oxidoreductases (StrU, 45.6 kDa), and ABC-transporters (StrV, 61.8 kDa; StrW, 63.4 kDa). These genes are apparently involved in the biosynthesis of 5'-OH-Sm because the promoters of both operons are activated in trans by the activator StrR of S. griseus N2-3-11, when cloned in S. lividans 66 TK23. A sequence motif resembling the consensus sequence GTTCGActG(N)11CagTcGAAc for binding of StrR was identified within the intergenic region of strX and strV. Specific binding of StrR to this site was demonstrated by gel retardation assays using purified His*Tag-StrR.