The cryptic ilvlH locus of Salmonella typhimurium has genetic information for two distinct subunits of acetohydroxy acid synthase III. We show that the ilvH-encoded subunit is normally translated and the lack of activity is due to early termination of translation within the promoter-proximal ilvl gene. Analysis of the 5’region of the operon led to identification of the promoter and the amino-terminal part of ilvl. Expression of this gene in a mutant producing acetohydroxy acid synthase is due to a transversion which creates a UUA (leucine) codon in the place of a UGA (stop) codon present in position 12 of the wild-type coding region.