Transfer-defective mutants of the 10.4-kb Tra 2/Tra 3 region of RP1 were identified by their ability to be complemented by clones carrying all or part of this region. The respective mutations occurred in six cistrons whose order (traA, B, E, R, P, Q) and location were determined by deletion and insertion mapping. The cistrons occupy a minimum of 5.5 kb with the most distal, traA, spanning the 28.0-kb map position and traR the KpnI site at map position 24.1 kb. Each cistron is expressed independently, as Tn5 or Tn504 insertions in any one cistron do not affect the other five. The phenotypes controlled by each cistron suggest that all contribute to pilus biosynthesis/function while three (traB, R, and P) also contribute to surface exclusion. Given the occurrence of tra cistrons in the "silent" region between Tra 2 and Tra 3 we propose that the epithet "Tra 2" should be used to describe this entire region.