Erwinia carotovora subsp. atroseptica was mutage-nized and assayed for virulence in planta. Those mutants which exhibited reduced virulence (Rvi-) were assayed for growth rate, auxotrophy and extracellular enzyme secretion and seven mutants were found to be wild type for all of these phenotypes. When screened for other phenotypes, two were found to be non-motile. One mutant was complemented for motility by a heterologous gene library. A 2.7kb XmaIII-Clal complementing fragment was sequenced and the gene products were found to have similarity to flagella biosynthesis gene products from several bacteria. Further similarity was found to a pathogenicity protein from the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. glycines and to the Spa pathogenicity proteins of the human pathogen Shigella fiexneri, which are involved in the surface presentation of antigens. These studies highlight the emergence of common themes in the molecular strategies employed by both plant and animal bacterial pathogens for the targeting of proteins involved in the elaboration of disease.