Lactose-positive (Lac+) transconjugants resulting from matings between Streptococcus lactic ML3 and S. lactis LM2301 possess a single plasmid of approximately 60 megadaltons (Mdal) which is nearly twice the size of the lactose plasmid of the donor. The majority of these Lac+ transconjugants aggregated in broth and were able to transfer lactose-fermenting ability at a frequency higher than 10(-1) per donor on milk agar plates or in broth. Lac+ transconjugants which did not clump conjugated at a much lower frequency. Lactose-negative derivatives of Lac+ clumping transconjugants did not aggregate in broth and were missing the 60-Mdal plasmid. The ability to aggregates in broth was very unstable. Strains could lose the ability to clump but retain lactose-fermenting ability. The majority of these Lac+ nonclumping derivatives of clumping transconjugants contained a plasmid of approximately 33 Mdal, the size of the lactose plasmid of the original donor ML3. These strains transferred lactose-fermenting ability at a frequency of approximately 10(-6) per donor, resulting in both Lac+ clumping transconjugants which contained a 60-Mdal plasmid and Lac+ nonclumping transconjugants which possessed a 33-Mdal plasmid. Our results suggest that the genes responsible for cell aggregation and high-frequency conjugation are on the segment of deoxyribonucleic acid which recombined with the 33-Mdal lactose plasmid in S. lactis ML3.