The broad jost range plasmid, RK2, has been isolated as a DNA-protein relaxation complex. Nicking of the plasmid DNA in the relaxation complex occurs at a single specific site (rlx) located approximately 20 kb away from the origin of DNA replication. A cis-acting function required for plasmid transfer, the presumptive origin of transfer, maps in the same region as rlx. The region of RK2 encompassing rlx has been cloned onto pBR322 and shown to promote mobilization of the hybrid plasmid by an RK2 derivative. These results indicate that the RK2 relaxation complex nicks at or near the origin of transfer of the RK2 plasmid.