We report that the major product of IS15-promoted transposition is a cointegrate. When present in the multicopy plasmid pBR322, IS15 and its progenitor IS15-delta mediate the formation of cointegrates at frequencies of 3.5 X 10(-4) and 2.9 X 10(-5), respectively. We have studied the stability of the cointegrates generated by IS15 and IS15-delta. While these structures are resolved in a rec+ host, they were stable in a rec- host. These observations suggest that neither IS15 nor IS15-delta encode a resolvase and that cointegration is an end product of their transposition process. These properties of IS15-delta and IS15 can explain the transitions from IS15-delta to IS15 and from IS15 to IS15-delta observed in vivo.