We have analysed a gene cluster in the 67 center dot 4-76 center dot 0 min region of the Escherichia coli chromosome, revealed by recent systematic genome sequencing. The genes within this cluster include: (1) five genes encoding homologues of the E. coli mannose permease of the phosphotransferase system (IIB, IIB', IIC, IIC' and IID); (2) genes encoding a putative N-acetylgalactosamine 6-phosphate metabolic pathway including (a) a deacetylase, (b) an isomerizing deaminase, (c) a putative carbohydrate kinase, and (d) an aldolase; and (3) a transcriptional regulatory protein homologous to members of the DeoR family. Evidence is presented suggesting that the aldolase-encoding gene within this cluster is the previously designated kba gene that encodes tagatose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase. These proteins and a novel IIAMan-like protein encoded in the 2 center dot 4-4 center dot 1 min region are characterized with respect to their sequence similarities and phylogenetic relationships with other homologous proteins. A pathway for the metabolism of N-acetylgalactosamine biochemically similar to that for the metabolism of N-acetylglucosamine is proposed.