The origin of replication of the IncL/M plasmid pMU604 was analyzed to identify sequences important for binding of initiator proteins and origin activity. A thrice repeated sequence motif 5 -NANCYGCAA-3 was identified as the binding site (RepA box) of the initiator protein, RepA. All three copies of the RepA box were required for in vivo activity and binding of RepA to these boxes appeared to be cooperative. A DnaA R box (box 1), located immediately upstream of the RepA boxes, was not required for recruitment of DnaA during initiation of replication by RepA of pMU604 unless a DnaA R box located at the distal end of the origin (box 3) had been inactivated. However, DnaA R box 1 was important for recruitment of DnaA to the origin of replication of pMU604 when the initiator RepA was that from a distantly related plasmid, pMU720. A mutation which scrambled DnaA R boxes 1 and 3 and one which scrambled DnaA R boxes 1, 3 and 4 had much more deleterious effects on initiation by RepA of pMU720 than on initiation by RepA of pMU604. Neither Rep protein could initiate replication from the origin of pMU604 in the absence of DnaA, suggesting that the difference between them might lie in the mechanism of recruitment of DnaA to this origin. DnaA protein enhanced the binding and origin unwinding activities of RepA of pMU604, but appeared unable to bind to a linear DNA fragment bearing the origin of replication of pMU604 in the absence of other proteins.