Transposon Tn10 is 9300 bp in length, with 1400 bp inverted repeats at its ends. The inverted repeats are structurally intact IS-like sequences (Ross et al., 1979). Analysis of deletion mutants and structural variants of Tn10, reported below, shows that the two IS10 segments contain all of the Tn10-encoded genetic determinants, both sites and functions, that are required for transposition. Furthermore, the two repeats (IS10-Right and IS10-Left) are not functionally equivalent: IS10-Right is fully functional and is capable by itself of promoting normal levels of Tn10 transposition; IS10-Left functions only poorly by itself, promoting transposition at a very low level when IS10-Right is inactivated. Complementation analysis shows that IS10-Right encodes at least one function, required for Tn10 transposition, which can act in trans and which works at the ends of the element. Also, all of the sites specifically required for normal Tn10 transposition have been localized to the outermost 70 bp at each end of the element; there is no evidence that specific sites internal to the element play an essential role. Finally, Tn10 modulates its own transposition in such a way that transposition-defective point mutants, unlike deletion mutants, are not complemented by functions provided in trans; and wild-type Tn10, unlike deletion mutants, is not affected by functions provided in trans from a "high hopper" Tn10 element.