Mutants of Escherichia coli K-12 deficient in glutaredoxin were isolated and partially characterized. The mutants have detectable but significantly reduced glutaredoxin activity in assays of whole cells made permeable with ether as well as in assays of crude extracts coupled to ribonucleotide reductase. In vivo, the mutants appear to be deficient in both sulfate and ribonucleotide reduction, suggesting that in vivo glutaredoxin is the preferred cofactor for ribonucleotide reductase and adenosine 3'-phosphate 5'-phosphosulfate reductase. Complementation of the mutant phenotype by transformants was used to clone the wild-type glutaredoxin allele. The transformants had a high level of glutaredoxin activity and contained a plasmid with an insert that had a restriction endonuclease pattern identical to that predicted by the DNA sequence for glutaredoxin determined by Hoog et al. (J.-O. Hoog, H. von Bahr-Lindstrom, H. Jornvall, and A. Holmgren, Gene 43:13-21, 1986).