Previous work from this laboratory revealed that alterations in the structure of the ccoNOQP operon of Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1 could lead to induction of the photosynthetic apparatus under aerobic growth conditions. Immediately downstream of the ccoNOQP operon is the rdxB gene, the first gene of the rdxBHIS cluster. The rdxB gene product is predicted to encode a membrane protein which can bind two [4Fe-4S] clusters. The ccoP gene product is a diheme cytochrome which is a component of the cbb3-type cytochrome oxidase. Under aerobic growth conditions, strains possessing ccoP and rdxB mutations both singly and in combination produced light-harvesting complexes, suggesting that normal functioning of these proteins is required to maintain repression of photosynthesis gene expression in the presence of oxygen. Analysis of the expression of puc::lacZ fusions under aerobic conditions revealed an approximately 12-fold increase in puc operon expression in the RDXB1 and CCOP1 mutant strains compared with that for wild-type 2.4.1. Similarly, puf::lacZ activity was observed to be elevated fourfold above wild-type levels. Further indication of the importance of the RdxB and CcoP proteins was derived from studies of mutant and wild-type cells grown under anoxygenic photosynthetic and nitrogen-fixing conditions. These mutant strains were observed to accumulate spheroidenone to approximately 50% or more of the total carotenoid. In wild-type cultures, spheroidenone normally accumulates to approximately 10 to 20% of the total carotenoid under the same growth conditions. This effect was most pronounced when both the rdxB and the ccoP mutations were present together in cells cultured under nitrogen-fixing photosynthetic growth conditions in which spheroidenone represented approximately 90% of the total carotenoid. We propose that mutations in the rdxB or ccoP gene may lead to changes in a membrane-generated redox signal or the accumulation of a critical redox intermediate in the mutant strains which results in increased photosynthesis gene expression under aerobic conditions by alteration of the activity of a transcriptional regulator(s) of photosynthesis gene expression. Mutations in these genes also appear to posttranscriptionally influence the terminal step of carotenoid biogenesis. Potential regulators interacting with an aberrant redox signal in the mutants and the possible nature of such a redox signal are discussed.