The broad-host-range IncP plasmids RP4, R68.45, RP1::Tn501, and pUB307 were transferred to acidophilic, obligately chemolithotrophic Thiobacillus ferrooxidans from Escherichia coli by conjugation. A genetic marker of kanamycin resistance was expressed in T. ferrooxidans. Plasmid RP4 was transferred back to E. coli from T. ferrooxidans. The broad-host-range IncQ vector pJRD215 was mobilized to T. ferrooxidans with the aid of plasmid RP4 integrated in the chromosome of E. coli SM10. pJRD215 was stable, and all genetic markers (kanamycin/neomycin and streptomycin resistance) were expressed in T. ferrooxidans. By the use of suicide vector pSUP1011, transposon Tn5 was introduced into T. ferrooxidans. The influence of some factors on plasmid transfer from E. coli to T. ferrooxidans was investigated. Results showed that the physiological state of donor cells might be important to the mobilization of plasmids. The transfer of plasmids from E. coli to T. ferrooxidans occurred in the absence of energy sources for both donor and recipient.