A118 is a temperate phage isolated from Listeria monocytogenes. In this study, we report the entire nucleotide sequence and structural analysis of its 40 834 bp DNA. Electron microscopic and enzymatic analyses revealed that the A118 genome is a linear, circularly permuted, terminally redundant collection of double-stranded DNA molecules. No evidence for cohesive ends or for a terminase recognition (pac) site could be obtained, suggesting that A118 viral DNA is packaged via a headful mechanism. Partial denaturation mapping of DNA cross-linked to the tail shaft indicated that DNA packaging proceeds from left to right with respect to the arbitrary genomic map and the direction of genes necessary for lytic development. Seventy-two open reading frames (ORFs) were identified on the A118 genome, which are apparently organized in a life cycle-specific manner into at least three major transcriptional units. N-terminal amino acid sequencing, bioinformatic analyses and functional characterizations enabled the assignment of possible functions to 26 ORFs, which included DNA packaging proteins, morphopoetic proteins, lysis components, lysogeny control-associated functions and proteins necessary for DNA recombination, modification and replication. Comparative analysis of the A118 genome structure with other bacteriophages revealed local, but sometimes extensive, similarities to a number of phages spanning a broader phylogenetic range of various low G+C host bacteria, which implies relatively recent exchange of genes or genetic modules. We have also identified the A118 attachment site attP and the corresponding attB in Listeria monocytogenes, and show that site-specific integration of the A118 prophage by the A118 integrase occurs into a host gene homologous to comK of Bacillus subtilis, an autoregulatory gene specifying the major competence transcription factor.