Phosphate controls the biosynthesis of many classes of secondary metabolites that belong to different biosynthetic groups, indicating that phosphate control is a general mechanism governing secondary metabolism. We refer in this article to the molecular mechanisms of regulation, mediated by the two-component system PhoR-PhoP, of the primary metabolism and the biosynthesis of antibiotics. The two-component PhoR-PhoP system is conserved in all Streptomyces and related actinobacteria sequenced so far, and involves a third component PhoU that modulates the signal transduction cascade. The PhoP DNA-binding sequence is well characterized in Streptomyces coelicolor. It comprises at least two direct repeat units of 11 nt, the first seven of which are highly conserved. Other less conserved direct repeats located adjacent to the core ones can also be bound by PhoP through cooperative protein-protein interactions. The phoR-phoP operon is self-activated and requires phosphorylated PhoP to mediate the full response. About 50 up-regulated PhoP-dependent genes have been identified by comparative transcriptomic studies between the parental S. coelicolor M145 and the Delta phoP mutant strains. The PhoP regulation of several of these genes has been studied in detail using EMSA and DNase I footprinting studies as well as in vivo expression studies with reporter genes and RT-PCR transcriptomic analyses.