Tn5 transposase (Tnp) overproduction is lethal to Escherichia coli. Genetic evidence suggested that this killing involves titration of E. coli topoisomerase I (Topo I). Here, we present biochemical evidence that supports this model. Tn5 Tnp copurifies with Topo I while nonkilling derivatives of Tnp, Delta37Tnp and Delta55Tnp (Inhibitor [Inh]), show reduced affinity or no affinity, respectively, for Topo I. In agreement with these results, the presence of Tnp, but not Delta37 or Inh derivatives of Tnp, inhibits the DNA relaxation activity of Topo I in vivo as well as in vitro. Other proteins, including RNA polymerase, are also found to copurify with Tnp. For RNA polymerase, reduced copurification with Tnp is observed in extracts from a topA mutant strain, suggesting that RNA polymerase interacts with Topo I and not Tnp.