The restriction endonuclease EcoRII is unable to cleave DNA molecules when recognition sites are very far apart. The enzyme, however can be activated in the presence of DNA molecules with a high frequency of EcoRII sites or by oligonucleotides containing recognition sites: Addition of the activator molecules stimulates cleavage of the refractory substrate. We now show that endonucleolysis of the stimulator molecules is not a necessary prerequisite of enzyme activation. A total EcoRII digest of pBR322 DNA or oligonucleotide duplexes with simulated EcoRII ends (containing the 5' phosphate group), as well as oligonucleotide duplexes containing modified bases within the EcoRII site, making them resistant to cleavage, are all capable of enzyme activation. For activation EcoRII requires the interaction with at least two recognition sites. The two sites may be on the same DNA molecule, on different oligonucleotide duplexes, or on one DNA molecule and one oligonucleotide duplex. The efficiency of functional intramolecular cooperation decreases with increasing distance between the sites. Intermolecular site interaction is inversely related to the size of the stimulator oligonucleotide duplex. The data are in agreement with a model whereby EcoRII simultaneously interacts with two recognition sites in the active complex, but cleavage of the site serving as an allosteric activator is not necessary.