Citrobacter freundii biotype 4280 produces attaching and effacing (AE) lesions in the large intestine of laboratory mice and is the causative agent of transmissible murine colonic hyperplasia. AE lesions are also produced by enteropathogenic Escherichia coli in humans. Southern analysis revealed that biotype 4280, but not 20 other strains of C. freundii, contained DNA homologous to the eae (E. coli attaching and effacing) gene which is necessary for AE activity by enteropathogenic E. coli in vitro. We have cloned and determined the nucleotide sequence of the C. freundii eae homolog. Our findings suggest that the eae locus of C. freundii biotype 4280 is necessary for AE activity and has a role in the pathogenesis of transmissible murine colonic hyperplasia.