A new 9.9 kb catabolic transposon, Tn-Dha1, containing the gene responsible for tetrachloroethene (PCE) reductive dechlorination activity, was isolated from Desulfitobacterium hafniense strain TCE1. Two fully identical copies of the insertion sequence ISDha1, a new member of the IS256 family, surround the gene cluster pceABCT, a truncated gene for another transposase and a short open reading frame with homology to a member of the twin-arginine transport system (tatA). Evidence was obtained by Southern blot for an alternative form of the transposon element as a circular molecule containing only one copy of ISDha1. This latter structure most probably represents a dead-end product of the transposition of Tn-Dha1. Strong indications for the transposition activity of ISDha1 were given by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification and sequencing of the intervening sequence located between both inverted repeats (IR) of ISDha1 (IR junction). A stable genomic ISDha1 tandem was excluded by quantitative real-time PCR. Promoter mapping of the pceA gene, encoding the reductive dehalogenase, revealed the presence of a strong promoter partially encoded in the right inverted repeat of ISDha1. A sequence comparison with pce gene clusters from Desulfitobacterium sp. strains PCE-S and Y51 and from Dehalobacter restrictus, all of which show 100% identity for the pceAB genes, indicated that both Desulfitobacterium strains seem to possess the same transposon structure, whereas only the pceABCT gene cluster is conserved in D. restrictus.