The GC-rich discriminator sequence between the -10 region and the transcription start site of the rnpB promoter is responsible for stringent control of M1 RNA synthesis. The rnpB promoter also contains a G nucleotide at the previously identified transcription start site. In this study, we examined by mutagenesis of G to A whether this +1G nucleotide is involved in the stringent response. We found that the change did not alter the stringent response. Since the +1 mutation might alter transcription initiation, we compared the transcription start sites of the wt and mutant promoters by primer extension analysis. Surprisingly, we found that wild type rnpB transcription starts at both the +1G position (70%) and the -1C position (30%), and that the +1A mutation led to transcription initiation exclusively at the AC position. We also generated two transversion mutations at the -1 position, both of which led to transcription starting exclusively at that position. The -1G mutant promoter gave a stringent signal similar to the wild-type, whereas the -1A mutant generated a significantly less stringent signal. Base on these results, we propose that a short sequence, up to 7 bp downstream of the -10 region, is involved in the stringent response of the rnpB promoter.