A 3.2 kb DNA fragment containing the replication region (RR) from pTC82 was cloned, sequenced, and found to contain elements typical of plasmids that replicate via a rolling-circle mechanism of replication (RCR), including double-strand origin (DSO), replication protein gene (rep), and single-strand origin (SSO). The DSO of pTC82 contains two domains showing 55.5% and 84.6% similarities in nucleotide (nt) sequence to the conserved functional elements bind and nic, respectively, which are required for the initiation of the leading strand typical of the pC194-RCR family. Although the predicted rep gene product of pTC82 (Rep82) shares little identity (less than 24%) with other known Reps, a region containing three motifs, characteristic of the pC194-family Reps, was identified, indicating the Rep82 as a novel Rep protein of this family. Downstream of the rep82 gene, strong similarity to the typical palT type-SSO could be detected. This is the first palT type-SSO to be identified from Lactobacillus. Through a series of deletion studies, the minimal replicon of the cloned RR was found to be 2.66 kb in size including the DSO region and rep gene. This RR was further identified as being highly stable in L. reuteri and also bearing a very narrow host-range property, suggesting it to be a good replicon potentially useful in vector construction for developing L. reuteri as a vaccine carrier.