In response to the intracellular iron concentration Pseudomonas fluorescens M114 coordinately regulates the production of pseudobactin M114, its cognate receptor PbuA, and a casein protease. Transcriptional initiation of this coordinate iron-stress response requires the sigma factor PbrA. PbrA is a member of the ECF (Extracytoplasmic function) subgroup of the sigma(70) family of eubacterial RNA polymerase sigma factors. Regulatory studies of the pbr A gene utilising promoter-lacZ transcriptional fusions demonstrate that expression of pbrA dictates the cellular response to iron. pbrA is transcribed in all phases of iron-limited growth but maximally at late-logarithmic to stationary phase. pbrA expression is independent of autoregulatory control but is strictly repressed in iron-rich conditions in a Fur-dependent fashion. Constitutive expression of pbrA from an inducible tac promoter permits the induction of PbrA-dependent transcription and pseudobactin M114 biosynthesis in high-iron conditions. A PbrA consensus sequence was derived from significant DNA sequence homologies observed within the ''-25bp'' and ''-16bp'' regions conserved among all PbrA-dependent promoters. The predicted PbrA target promoter consensus is homologous for the promoter recognition sites for other environmentally responsive ECF sigma factors.