Colicinogenic factors ColE1 and ColE2 are bacterial plasmids that exist in Escherichia coli as supercoiled deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and as strand-specific, relaxation complexes of supercoiled DNA and protein. Newly replicated ColE1 DNA becomes complexed with protein after the replication event. This association of DNA and protein can take place under conditions in which DNA or protein synthesis is arrested. The addition of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (c-AMP) to normal cells growing in glucose medium results in a six- to tenfold stimulation in the rate of synthesis of the protein component(s) of the complex and a three- to fivefold stimulation in the rate of ColE1 DNA replication. Employing mutants deficient in catabolite gene activator protein or adenylate cyclase, it was shown that synthesis of both the plasmid-determined protein colicin E1 and the protein component(s) of the ColE1 relaxation complex is mediated through the c-AMP-catabolite gene activator protein system. Addition of c-AMP to ColE2-containing cells results in the stimulation of synthesis of ColE2 DNA and relaxation protein(s) as well as in the production of a protein component of the ColE2 relaxation complex that renders it sensitive to induced relaxation by heat treatment. In the case of ColE2, synthesis of the relaxation protein(s) is not dependent upon catabolite gene activator protein.