The mercury-resistance transposon Tn5053 inhibits restriction activity of the type I restriction-modification endonuclease EcoKI in Escherichia coli K12 cells. This is the first report of antirestriction activity of a non-conjugative transposon. The gene (ardD) coding for the antirestriction protein has been cloned. The ardD gene is located within the tniA gene, coding for transposase, on the complementary strand. The direction of transcription is opposite to transcription of the tniA gene.