Hybrid ColE1 plasmids called ColE1-cos lambda-guaA or ColE1-cos lambda-gal can be efficiently transduced into various E.coli K-12 cells through packaging into lambda phage particles. Using these plasmids, repair of ultraviolet-light (UV) damaged ColE1 DNAs was studied in various UV sensitive E.coli K-12 mutants. The host mutations uvrA and uvrB markedly reduced host-cell reactivation of UV-irradiated ColE1-cos lambda-guaA. Pre-existing hybrid ColE1 plasmids had no effect on the frequency of lambda phage-mediated transduction of another differentially marked hybrid ColE1 DNAs. ColE1-cos lambda-guaA and ColE1-cos lambda-gal DNAs could temporarily but not stably co-exist in E.coli K-12 recA cells. The presence of ColE1-cos lambda-gal in uvrB cells promoted the repair of super-infected UV-irradiated ColE1-cos lambda-guaA about 7-fold. The same ColE1-cos lambda-gal plasmid in a uvrB recA double mutant did not have this promoting effect. These results indicate that the effect of resident hybrid ColE1 plasmids is manifested by the host recA/sup +/ gene function(s) and suggest that ColE1 plasmit itself provides no recA/sup +/-like functions.