The stability locus, parA+, of plasmid R1 is shown to be localized within a 1500 base-pair region of DNA on the largest EcoRI restriction fragment of plasmid R1. The nucleotide sequence of the region revealed the presence of two open reading frames, one of 320 codons, and another of 60 codons. The larger open reading frame encodes a polypeptide of 36,000 Mr. Deletions covering the promoter distal end of the 36,000 Mr reading frame give rise to synthesis of large amounts of truncated protein. Construction of promoter fusions between the parA+ promoter and the lacZ gene showed that the parA+ region encodes a factor that negatively regulates the expression of the 36,000 Mr protein. The locus exerting parA+-associated incompatibility, denoted incA+, was mapped to a 60 base-pair region covering the parA+ promoter. Most likely, this region is involved both in the negative regulation of the parA+ operon and in the parA+-associated incompatibility. Two explanations are suggested to explain this possible dual function of the parA+ promoter region. The parA+ region was cloned into an unstably inherited (par-) derivative of a mini-F derivative. The low copy number plasmid mini-F devoid of its own partition genes was stabilized more than 100-fold by carrying the parA+ genes. This observation is in accordance with the proposal that the parA+ locus specifies the true partition function of plasmid R1.