The virulence plasmid of Salmonella typhimurium contains a gene, rlgA, that shows strong homology to several reported resolvase-like proteins. This gene maps 5 kb upstream of spv locus, the major virulence determinant on the plasmid. Regulation of rlgA was studied using a lacZ transcriptional reporter fusion. The rlgA gene was found to be repressed at the level of transcription by its own product and to be expressed maximally in the late exponential phase of growth. The transcription start site of the rlgA gene was determined and the RlgA binding site was mapped and found to overlap with the transcription initiation signals. A derivative of the virulence plasmid was constructed with a knockout mutation in rlgA. This mutation did not alter the stability of the virulence plasmid nor did it affect the ability of S. typhimurium to cause systemic disease in mice. (C) 2000 Academic Press.