A certain class of cointegrate plasmids was found to occur between a pSC101 derivative and a second plasmid pBV320 in E. coli F- cells. Cleavage analysis and DNA sequencing showed that the cointegrate plasmid contained direct repeats of an insertion sequence IS101 at the recombination junctions, indicating that formation of cointegrates was mediated by IS101, which is a natural constituent of pSC101. These cointegrates were formed only in cells which contained the transposon gamma-delta, suggesting that the gamma-delta sequence, which provides transposase, is responsible for cointegration. Whenever the cointegrate plasmids were present in cells containing gamma-delta or its related transposon Tn3, the cointegrates were dissolved to give pBV320::IS101 due to recombination at duplicated IS101 sequences in the cointegrates, suggesting that both gamma-delta and Tn3, which provide a resolvase, are responsible for the resolution of the cointegrates. Comparison between the nucleotide sequence of IS101 and those of gamma-delta and Tn3 shows a high degree of homology in the regions that have been shown to be the binding sites of resolvases, as well as in the terminal inverted repeats. However, there is no homology between IS101 and the other element, gamma-delta or Tn3, in the internal resolution site, at which the resolution event may occur.