Thiamine pyrophosphate is an essential cofactor that is synthesized de novo in Salmonella typhimurium. The biochemical steps and gene products involved in the conversion of aminoimidazole ribotide (AIR), a purine intermediate, to the 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methyl pyrimidine (HMP) moiety of thiamine have yet to be elucidated. We have isolated mutations in a new locus (Escherichia coli open reading frame designation yojK) at 49 min on the S. typhimurium chromosome. Two significant phenotypes associated with lesions in this locus (apbE) were identified. First, apbE purF double mutants require thiamine, specifically the HMP moiety. Second, in the presence of adenine, apbE single mutants require thiamine, specifically both the HMP and the thiazole moieties. Together, the phenotypes associated with apbE mutants suggest that flux through the purine pathway has a role in regulating synthesis of the thiazole moiety of thiamine and are consistent with ApbE being involved in the conversion of AIR to HMP. The product of the apbE gene was found to be a 36-kDa membrane-associated lipoprotein, making it the second membrane protein implicated in thiamine synthesis.