Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria that replicate within a non-acidified vacuole, termed an inclusion. To identify chlamydial proteins that are unique to the intracellular phase of the life cycle, a lambda expression library of Chlamydia psittaci DNA was differentially screened with convalescent antisera from infected guinea pigs and antisera directed at formalin-fixed purified chlamydial elementary bodies (EBs). One library clone was identified that harboured two open reading frames (ORFs) with coding potential for similar-sized proteins of approximately 20 kDa. These proteins were subsequently termed IncB and IncC. Sequencing of the cloned insert revealed a strong Escherichia coli-like promoter sequence immediately upstream of incB and a 36nt intergenic region between the ORFs. Sequence analysis of the region upstream of incB and incC revealed two ORFs that had strong homologies to an amino acid transporter and a sodium-dependent transporter. Immunoblotting with antisera directed at IncB or IncC demonstrated that these proteins are present in C. psittaci-infected HeLa cells but are absent or below the level of detection in purified EBs. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reactions provided evidence that incB and incC are transcribed in an operon. Immunofluorescence microscopy demonstrated that IncB and IncC are each localized to the inclusion membrane of infected cells. No primary sequence similarity is evident between IncA, IncB or IncC, but each contains a large hydrophobic domain of similar size and character as in IncA. Analysis of the recently completed C. trachomatis serovar D genome database has revealed C. trachomatis ORFs encoding homologues to incB and incC, indicating that these genes are conserved among the chlamydiae.