The 1600-bp (base pair) fragment encoding a portion of the nalidixic acid resistant DNA gyrase, subunit B, was characterized to determine what parameters effect transformation in the gonococcus. When this DNA (pSY2) was isolated from Escherichia coli, it was able to transform a variety of gonococcal strains to resistance to nalidixic acid via DNA-mediated transformation, irrespective of their restriction-modification phenotype. Nalidixic acid resistant transformants contained no plasmid DNA sequences that corresponded to the vector, as measured by plasmid screening procedures and colony hybridization techniques. Supercoiled and linear DNA transformed the gonococcus at the same efficiency. DNA fragments as small as 615 bp were able to transform the gonococcus. The presence of a 10-bp uptake sequence enhanced a DNA fragment's ability to transform the gonococcus by four orders of magnitude. When the fragment encoding the nalidixic acid resistant DNA gyrase was subcloned into M13mp18, both the replicative form and the single-stranded form of the phage were able to transform the gonococcus to nalidixic acid resistance.