Thermus thermophilus HB8, a moderate thermophile, exhibits visible aggregation when growing on a rich broth. Strain HB8 also contains two cryptic plasmids. We isolated cured strains from HB8 and observed that loss of the 47-MDa plasmid was correlated with loss of aggregation. An enrichment procedure was developed for aggregating cells and used to demonstrate that aggregation was restored upon transformation of a cured strain with plasmid DNA. The aggregation phenotype of transformed cells was variably stable; most did not retain either the plasmid or the phenotype for prolonged periods of growth. Hybridization experiments using a partial sequence from the 47-MDa plasmid suggested the presence of a repeated DNA sequence on this plasmid and on the chromosome. This is the first report of a phenotype associated with a plasmid from a Thermus strain.