A new Staphylococcus aureus gene termed scdA was found upstream of the autolysis regulatory genes, lytS and lytR, and was shown to potentially encode a hydrophilic 25 kDa protein. Analysis of scdA transcription revealed that it is transcribed as a monocistronic message and is lytSR-independent. A role in cell wall metabolism was indicated by examination of the scdA mutant S. aureus KB323, which had a grossly aberrant cellular morphology and formed large cell clusters when grown in liquid culture medium. Furthermore, KB323 exhibited a reduced rate of autolysis and had increased peptidoglycan cross-linking compared to the parental strain, NCTC 8325-4. These data suggest that scdA plays an important role in staphylococcal cell division.