The Tn611 transposon was inserted into pCG63, a temperature-sensitive plasmid isolated from an Escherichia coli-mycobacterial shuttle vector which contains the pAL5000 and pUC18 replicons. The resulting plasmid, pCG79, was used to generate a large number of insertional mutations in Mycobacterium smegmatis. These are the first mycobacterial insertional mutant libraries to be constructed by transposition directly into a mycobacterium. No highly preferential insertion sites were detected by Southern blot analysis of the chromosomal DNAs isolated from the insertion mutants. Auxotrophic mutants with various phenotypes were isolated at a frequency ranging from 0.1 to 0.4%, suggesting that the libraries are representative. The pCG79 system thus seems to be a useful tool for the study of M. smegmatis genetics and may be applicable to other mycobacteria, such as the M. tuberculosis complex.