N,N-Dimethylformamide (DMF), a toxic solvent used in the chemical industry, is frequently present in industrial wastes. Plasmid pAMI2 (18.6 kb) of Paracoccus aminophilus JCM 7686 carries genetic information which is crucial for methylotrophic growth of this bacterium, using DMF as the sole source of carbon and energy. Besides a conserved backbone related to pAgK84 of Agrobacterium radiobacter K84, pAMI2 carries a three-gene cluster coding for the protein DmfR, which has sequence similarities to members of the LuxR family of transcription regulators, and two subunits (DmfA1 and DmfA2) of N,N-dimethylformamidase, an enzyme of high substrate specificity that catalyzes the first step in the degradation of DMF. Genetic analysis revealed that these genes, which are all placed in the same orientation, constitute an inducible operon whose expression is activated in the presence of DMF by the positive transcription regulator DmfR. This operon was used to construct a strain able to degrade DMF at high concentrations that might be used in the biotreatment of DMF-containing industrial wastewaters. To our knowledge, this is the first study to provide insights into the genetic organization and regulation as well as the dissemination in bacteria of genes involved in the enzymatic breakdown of DMF.