Insertion sequence (IS) element ISRLdTAL1145-1 from Rhizobium sp. (Leucaena diversifolia) strain TAL 1145 was entrapped in the sacB gene of the positive selection vector pUCD800 by insertional inactivation. A hybridization probe prepared from the whole 2.5-kb element was used to determine the distribution of homologous sequences in a diverse collection of 135 Rhizobium and Bradyrhizobium strains. The IS probe hybridized strongly to Southern blots of genomic DNAs from 10 rhizobial strains that nodulate both Phaseolus vulgaris (beans) and Leucaena leucocephala (leguminous trees), 1 Rhizobium sp. that nodulates Leucaena spp., 9 R. meliloti (alfalfa) strains, 4 Rhizobium spp. that nodulate Sophora chrysophylla (leguminous trees), and 1 nonnodulating bacterium associated with the nodules of Pithecellobium dulce from the Leucaena cross-inoculation group, producing distinguishing IS patterns for each strain. Hybridization analysis revealed that ISRLdTAL1145-1 was strongly homologous with and closely related to a previously isolated element, ISRm USDA1024-1 from R. meliloti, while restriction enzyme analysis found structural similarities and differences between the two IS homologs. Two internal segments of these IS elements were used to construct hybridization probes of 1.2 kb and 380 bp that delineate a structural similarity and a difference, respectively, of the two IS homologs. The internal segment probes were used to analyze the structures of homologous IS elements in other strains. Five types of structural variation in homolog IS elements were found. The predominate IS structural type naturally occurring in a strain can reasonably identify the strain's cross-inoculation group relationships. Three IS structural types were found in Rhizobium species that nodulate beans and Leucaena species, one of which included the designated type IIB strain of R. tropici (CIAT 899). Weak homology to the whole IS probe, but not with the internal segments, was found with two Bradyrhizobium japonicum strains. The taxonomic and ecological implications of the distribution of ISRLdTAL1145-1 are discussed.