In several bacterial species, iron availability in host tissues is coordinated with the expression of virulence determinants through the fur gene product. Initial experiments showed that a cloned Escherichia coli fur gene probe hybridized to Southern blots of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans strain JP2 (serotype b) chromosomal DNA. The A. actinomycetemcomitans fur gene was then cloned utilizing partial functional complementation of the fur mutant in E. coli strain H1780. Analysis of the cloned DNA sequence revealed a 438-bp open reading frame with a deduced 146-amino-acid sequence exhibiting 80% identity to Haemophilus influenzae Fur and 62% identity to E. coli Fur. The pUC Aafur gene probe (generated from JP2 serotype b) hybridized to representatives from all five A. actinomycetemcomitans serotypes as well as to two strains derived from monkeys, suggesting that fur is widely distributed in A. actinomycetemcomitans. Open reading frames having >70% identity with the E. coli and H. influenzae flavodoxin and gyrase A genes, respectively, were found. Expression of the A. actinomycetemcomitans fur gene product repressed fiu expression and siderophore production in E. coli. A gel shift assay demonstrated that the expressed A. actinomycetemcomitans Fur protein bound the bacterial fur consensus sequence. Further characterization of the fur gene product in A. actinomycetemcomitans may improve our understanding of its role in the pathogenesis of periodontal disease and may lead to specific therapeutic modalities.