The cloning and expression of the genes encoding the Vibrio cholerae O1 lipopolysaccharide O antigen in a heterologous host have been described previously (P. A. Manning, M. W. Heuzenroeder, J. Yeadon, D. I. Leavesley, P. R. Reeves, and D. Rowley, Infect. Immun. 53:272-277, 1986). It was thus assumed that all the genes required for O-antigen expression were located on a 20-kb SacI restriction fragment. We present evidence for a number of other as yet undescribed genes that are essential for O-antigen biosynthesis in V. cholerae O1 and that these genes are somehow complemented in Escherichia coli K-12. The two genes termed Vibrio cholerae rfbV and rfbU are transcribed in the opposite orientation from the rest of the rfb operon, whereas the galE dehydratase and rfbP (Salmonella enterica) homologs, designated ORF35x7 and rfbW, respectively, are transcribed in the same orientation. The evidence presented here, using chromosomal insertion mutants, clearly shows that the three genes now designated rfbV, rfbU, and rfbW appear to be accessory rfb genes and are essential for O-antigen biosynthesis in V. cholerae but that ORF35x7 is not.