The codon usage patterns of 21 genes encompassing 5800 codons from Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans were analyzed. A. actinomycetemcomitans genes could be divided into two groups based on their function and G + C content. One group included those genes encoding basic cellular functions. This group displayed an average G + C content of 48%. A second group comprised genes encoding the leukotoxin determinant, an insertion sequence and a plasmid. This group displayed an average G + C content of 36%. These findings suggest that portions of the A. actinomycetemcomitans genome may have been acquired by horizontal gene transfer from one or more distantly related species. We present a table of A. actinomycetemcomitans codon usage. These data may be used to establish standards for computer programs that predict A. actinomycetemcomitans protein coding regions and may be useful in designing degenerate oligonucleotide probes.