In Salmonella typhimurium, the genetic loci and biochemical reactions necessary for the conversion of aminoimidazole ribotide (AIR) to the 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methyl pyrimidine (HMP) moiety of thiamine remain unknown. Preliminary genetic analysis indicates that there may be more than one pathway responsible for the synthesis of HMP from AIR and that the function of these pathways depends on the availability of AIR, synthesized by the purine pathway or by the purF-independent alternative pyrimidine biosynthetic (APB) pathway (L. Petersen and D. Downs, J. Bacteriol. 178:5676-5682, 1996). An insertion in rseB, the third gene in the rpoE rseABC gene cluster at 57 min, prevented HMP synthesis in a purF mutant. Complementation analysis demonstrated that the HMP requirement of the purF rseB strain was due to polarity of the insertion in rseB on the downstream rseC gene. The role of RseC in thiamine synthesis was independent of rpoE.