The integron is a new type of mobile element containing one or more antibiotic-resistance-encoding genes site-specifically integrated as cassettes. The integrated genes are expressed from a common promoter region located in an adjacent conserved segment. Sequence analysis has revealed the existence of four versions of the integron promoters. In this study, we have determined the relative strength of the different integron promoters and compared their activity with that of the tac promoter. Each version of the promoter was cloned upstream from a promoter-less chloramphenicol acetyltransferase-encoding gene (cat) in plasmid pKK232-8. CAT activity was used to measure transcriptional expression from the promoters of the antibiotic-resistance operon. The strongest promoter is the version (TTGACAN17TAAACT) found in plasmid R388 and in transposon Tn1696. This promoter is six times more efficient than the derepressed tac promoter.