pSAM2 is a genetic element found integrated in Streptomyces ambofaciens (B2) and additionally in a replicating form in two mutants B3 and B4. The presence of the pSAM2 replicating form in these mutants was the result of mutations located on pSAM2 in the pra locus, named pra3 and pra4, respectively. The pra gene is not directly involved in replication, but its inactivation led to the disappearance of the pSAM2 free form; therefore, it was considered as a replication regulator. The pra3 and pra4 mutations were located in the pra promoter and were shown to be point substitutions that increase the promoter strength. The replication regulator role of pra was demonstrated by the fact that its constitutive expression in cells harbouring pSAM2B2, which is normally only integrated, led to the appearance of the pSAM2 replicating form. Northern analysis showed that the pra gene transcript can be detected only for the replicating mutants B3 and B4 and that the three adjacent genes korSA, pra and traSA were transcribed separately. As replication of pSAM2 is not needed for its maintenance but is an indispensable stage of its transfer, the pra gene, described formally as an activator of pSAM2 replication, is patently involved in pSAM2 transfer.