Agrobacterium rhizogenes strain A4 is a virulent agropine-type strain possessing three plasmids: plasmid a (pArA4a, 180 kb) is not necessary for plant transformation, plasmid b (250 kb) is the root-inducing plasmid (pRiA4), and plasmid c (pArA4c) is a cointegrate of pArA4a and pRiA4. The total plasmid DNA (pArA4) of strain A4 was cloned in the cosmid pHSG262 and the library obtained was used to establish BamHI maps of the three plasmids. The plasmids a and Ri have an apparently identical region and a partly homologous region, and are different in the remaining regions including their origins of replication. Another agropine-type A. rhizogenes strain, HRI, bears only one plasmid, which is the Ri plasmid (pRiHRI). pRiHRI and pRiA4 present the same restriction maps for a great part, but are different in a region of 48 kb; however, this region of pRiHRI is found unmodified in pArA4a and may have a role in the virulence of the bacteria. The comparison between the restriction maps of the plasmids of strain A4 leads us to propose that the recombination event leading to pArA4c formation occurs within the identical regions of pArA4a and pRiA4. In addition, the comparison with the already established map of pRiHRI suggests that strain HRI could have been derived from a recombination event between the two homologous regions of pArA4c with subsequent loss of the smaller plasmid.