Extensive circadian (daily) control over gene expression in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7942 is programmed into at least two differentially phased groups. The transcriptional activity of the smaller group of genes is maximal at about dawn and minimal at about dusk. We identified one of the genes belonging to this latter group as purF, which encodes the key regulatory enzyme in the de novo purine synthetic pathway, glutamine PRPP amidotransferase (also known as amidophosphoribosyltransferase). Its expression pattern as a function of circadian time was confirmed by both luminescence from a purF::luxAB reporter strain and the abundance of purF mRNA. By fusing sequences upstream of the purF coding region to promoterless luxAB genes, we identified a limited upstream region, which potentially regulates purF circadian expression patterns in vivo. We also identified the purL gene immediately upstream of purF. The purL gene encodes FGAM synthetase, the fourth enzyme in the purine nucleotide biosynthesis pathway. Although these genes are expressed as part of a larger operon in other bacteria, reporter gene fusions revealed that purF and purL are transcribed independently in Synechococcus and that they are expressed at different phases of the circadian cycle. This differential expression pattern may be related to the oxygen sensitivity of amidophosphoribosyltransferase.