The gram-negative anaerobe Dichelobacter nodosus is the primary causative agent of ovine footrot, a mixed bacterial infection of the hoof. We report here the characterization of a novel native plasmid, pDN1, from D. nodosus. Sequence analysis has revealed that pDN1 has a high degree of similarity to broad-host-range plasmids belonging, or related, to Escherichia coli incompatibility group Q. However, in contrast to these plasmids, pDN1 encodes no antibiotic resistance determinants, lacks genes E and F, and hence is smaller than all previously reported IncQ plasmids. In addition, pDN1 belongs to a different incompatibility group than the IncQ plasmids to which it is related. However, pDN1 does contain the replication and mobilization genes that are responsible for the extremely broad host range characteristic of IncQ plasmids, and derivatives of pDN1 replicate in E. coli. In addition, the mobilization determinants of pDN1 are functional, since derivatives of pDN1 are mobilized by the IncPα plasmid RP4 in E. coli. (C) 2000 Academic Press.