The region of the genome encoding the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase gene zwf was analysed in a unicellular cyanobacterium, Synechococcus sp. PCC 7942, and a filamentous, heterocystous cyanobacterium, Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. Comparison of cyanobacterial zwf sequences revealed the presence of two absolutely conserved cysteine residues which may be implicated in the light/dark control of enzyme activity. The presence in both strains of a gene fbp, encoding fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase, upstream from zwf strongly suggests that the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway in these organisms may function to completely oxidize glucose 6-phosphate to CO2. The amino acid sequence of fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase does not support the idea of its light activation by a thiol/disulfide exchange mechanism. In the case of Anabaena sp. PCC 7120, the tal gene, encoding transaldolase, lies between zwf and fbp. © 1995.