Bacillus thuringiensis serovar israelensis harbours, in addition to several circular plasmids, a small linear molecule of about 15 kb. Sequence analysis of this molecule, named pGIL01, showed the presence of at least 30 ORFs, five of which displayed similarity with proteins involved in phage systems: a B-type family DNA polymerase, a LexA-like repressor, two potential muramidases and a DNA-packaging protein (distantly related to the P9 protein of the tectiviral phage PRD1). Experimental evidence confirmed that pGIL01 indeed corresponds to the linear prophage of a temperate phage. This bacteriophage, named GIL01, produces small turbid plaques and is sensitive to organic solvents, which suggests the presence of lipid components in its capsid. Experiments using proteases and exonucleases also revealed that proteins are linked to the genomes of both pGIL01 prophage and GIL01 phage at their 5' extremities. Altogether, these features are reminiscent of those of phages found in the Tectiviridae family, and more specifically of those of PRD1, a broad-host-range phage of Gram-negative bacteria. Dot-blot hybridization, PFGE, PCR and RFLP analyses also showed the presence of pGIL01 variants in the Bacillus cereus group.