A two-component system encoding gene cluster kvgAS that is present only in virulent Klebsiella pneumoniae CG43 was isolated and its sequence determined. RT-PCR and Southern analysis demonstrated that kvgAS is organized as an operon. No apparent effect of a kvgS deletion on bacterial virulence was observed in a mouse peritonitis model. In the presence of paraquat or 2,2-dipyridyl, the activity of kvgAS promoter in the kvgS mutant was found to be reduced to half of the level in the wild-type strain. The data suggest that the KvgAS system is autoregulated and plays a role in countering free radical stresses and sensing iron-limiting conditions.