We used a binary-vector strategy to study the hypervirulence of Agrobacterium tumefaciens A281, an L,L-succinamopine strain. Strain A281 is hypervirulent on several solanaceous plants. We constructed plasmids (pCS65 and pCS277) carrying either the transferred DNA (T-DNA) or the remainder of the tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid (pEHA101) from this strain and tested each of these constructs in trans with complementary regions from heterologous Ti plasmids. Hypervirulence on tobacco could be reconstructed in a bipartite strain with the L,L-succinamopine T-DNA and the vir region on separate plasmids. pEHA101 was able to complement octopine T-DNA to hypervirulence on tobacco and tomato plants. Nopaline T-DNA was complemented better on tomato plants by pEHA101 than it was by its own nopaline vir region, but not to hypervirulence. L,L-Succinamopine T-DNA could not be complemented to hypervirulence on tobacco and tomato plants with either heterologous vir region. From these results we suggest that the hypervirulence of strain A281 is due to non-T-DNA sequences on the Ti plasmid.