The Escherichia coli enterotoxin STII gene is carried by Tn4521. The terminal repeats of Tn4521 are composed of IS2 sequences; however, neither repeat is a complete IS2. In order to determine how this seemingly defective transposon could transpose, mutations were generated within Tn4521 to determine the regions essential for transposition. The left terminal repeat region was found to be non-essential, but the right terminal repeat area was demonstrated to be crucial for transposition. Within the right terminal repeat area is an open reading frame (ORF), capable of encoding a 159 amino acid protein, which was shown by frameshift mutation analysis to be required for transposition. This protein may be the transposase of Tn4521. A pair of 11 bp repeat sequences flanking the ORF was also pair of 11 bp repeat sequences flanking the ORF was also found to be important. The right 11 bp repeat is part of the left IS2 terminal sequence, and the left 11 bp repeat is located about 300 bp upstream from the right IS2 terminal sequence located within the right terminal repeat region. The results of this study suggest that Tn4521 is a functional transposon and that the sequence including this pair of 11 bp sequences plus the intervening sequence is a transposable element which may be responsible for Tn4521 transposition.