Plasmid pWS2 is an R68.45 chimera originally isolated as an R-prime which complemented the Rhodobacter sphaeroides bch-420 allele. Our experiments have shown that pWS2 is also able to complement a wide range of R. sphaeroides pigment and photosynthetic mutants employing nitrosoquanidine, transposon or insertion-generated mutations effecting puhA, puc, puf, cycA, bch, and crt genes. A combination of orthogonal-field-alternation gel electrophoresis, transverse alternating field gel electrophoresis, and conventional electrophoresis have been used to estimate the size of pWS2 at ∼-168.3 ± 3.5 kb. A restriction map of the ∼-109 kb of R. sphaeroides insert DNA was generated by partial and complete restriction endonuclease digestion coupled with Southern hybridization analysis using either gene-specific or junction fragment probes. Genes encoding bacteriochlorophyll (Bchl)-binding proteins (pufBALMX, pucBA, and puhA), cytochrome c2 (cycA), and enzymes involved in Bchl (bch) and carotenoid (crt) biosynthesis have been shown to reside within a contiguous 53-kb region of the R. sphaeroides DNA present on pWS2. The puf operon lies at one end of the 53-kb segment, while the genes puhA, cycA, and pucBA, the latter two of which are located within ∼-12.0 kb of each other, define the other end of this 53-kb region. The genetic and physical mapping data provided in this paper are discussed in terms of the similarities and differences in the organization of the photosynthetic gene cluster between R. sphaeroides and other photosynthetic bacteria as well as highlighting the use of pWS2 in studies of photosynthetic gene structure and function.