In all examined species of the family Aphididae, the bacterial endosymbiont Buchnera aphidicola carries a plasmid encoding the genes leuABCD (involved in leucine biosynthesis) along with repA1, repA2 and ORF1. The gene organisation of the leucine plasmids was conserved, except in Buchnera isolated from Pterocomma populeum, where ORF1 was located in a different position. An inverted repeat (LIR1) located between repA2 and leuA is found in all of the Buchnera leucine plasmids examined. The predicted secondary structure of the LIR1 transcript conforms to a long hairpin loop, suggesting an involvement in transcription termination or messenger stability. Phylogenetic reconstruction based on repA2 sequences suggests that horizontal transfer of Buchnera leucine plasmids has not occurred.