Bacteria adapt to elevated levels of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) by increasing the expression of defence and repair proteins, which is regulated by ROS responsive transcription factors. In Bacillus subtilis the zinc protein PerR, a peroxide sensor that binds DNA in the presence of a regulatory metal Mn2+ or Fe2+, mediates the adaptive response to 2O2. This study presents the first crystal structure of apo-PerR-Zn which shows that all four cysteine residues of the protein are involved in zinc co-ordination. The Zn(Cys)4 site locks the dimerization domain and stabilizes the dimer. Sequence alignment of PerR-like proteins supports that this structural site may constitute a distinctive feature of this class of peroxide stress regulators.