The gene cluster (ery) governing the biosynthesis of the macrolide antibiotic erythromycin A by Saccharopolyspora erythraea contains, in addition to the eryA genes encoding the polyketide synthase, two regions containing genes for later steps in the pathway. The region 5' of eryA, and lying between eryA and the gene eryK, which is known to encode the C-12 hydroxylase, has been sequenced and shown to contain seven additional open reading frames (ORFs 13-19). On the basis of sequence similarities, roles are proposed for several of these ORFs in the biosynthesis of the deoxysugar mycarose and the deoxyaminosugar desosamine. A chromosomal mutant carrying a deletion in ORF15 has been constructed and shown to accumulate 3-O-mycarosylerythronolide B, as expected for an eryC mutant. Similarly, a chromosomal mutant carrying a deletion in ORF16 has been constructed and shown to accumulate erythronolide B, as expected for an eryB mutant.