The dnaA gene region of Streptococcus pneumoniae was cloned and sequenced. A tRNA gene, seven ORFs and three DnaA box clusters were identified. The order of the genes and intergene regions found was tRNA(Arg)-orf1-DnaA box cluster 3-htrA-spoOJ-DnaA box cluster 2-dnaA-DnaA box cluster 1-dnaN-orfX-orfY. Five ORFs are homologous to known bacterial genes. The tRNA(Arg) gene and orf1, also called orfL, have already been described in pneumococci and have been reported to be preceded by the competence regulation locus comCDE. In Escherichia coli, htrA encodes a serine protease. In Bacillus subtilis, spoOJ plays a role in sporulation and partition. dnaA encodes an initiator replication protein, very well conserved in several bacteria and dnaN encodes the beta subunit of DNA polymerase III in E. coli. The function of orfX is unknown. The N-terminal part of another reading frame, orfY, revealed high homology with a GTP-binding protein, DnaA box clusters were found upstream and downstream from dnaA. The presence of two such clusters suggests that the chromosomal origin of S. pneumoniae is located within this region. The position of dnaA, and therefore the putative origin of replication, were localized on the physical map of S. pneumoniae.