Tn5253, carrying tetracycline and chloramphenicol resistance determinants, is a 65.5-kb conjugative transposon originally detected in the chromosome of Streptococcus pneumoniae BM6001. We have identified an 18-kb segment of DNA carrying the tet determinant within Tn5253 to be an independent conjugative transposon when removed from the context of the larger element. In vivo deletion of this DNA segment, now termed Tn5251, from within Tn5253 did not affect the conjugative transposition properties of the remaining sequences. Thus, Tn5253 is a composite element of two conjugative structures: Tn5252, constituting the sequences beyond Tn5251 within Tn5253, and Tn5251. The transfer properties of Tn5252 and Tn5251 suggest that these may belong to two different classes of mobile elements even though they were initially found associated. The notion that a tet-carrying transposon like Tn5251 may have been the ancestral element in the evolution of the larger streptococcal conjugative transposons must be reevaluated in the light of present observations.