Strains of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are a heterogeneous E. coli group that may cause severe disease in humans. STEC have been categorized into seropathotypes (SPTs) based on their phenotypic and molecular characteristics and the clinical features of the associated diseases. SPTs range from A to E, according to a decreasing rank of pathogenicity. To define the virulence gene asset ("virulome") characterizing the highly pathogenic SPTs, we used microarray hybridization to compare the whole genomes of STEC belonging to SPTs B, C, and D with that of STEC O157 (SPT A). The presence of the open reading frames (ORFs) associated with SPTs A and B was subsequently investigated by PCR in a larger panel of STEC and in other E. coli strains. A genomic island termed OI-57 was present in SPTs A and B but not in the other SPTs. OI-57 harbors the putative virulence gene adfO, encoding a factor enhancing the adhesivity of STEC O157, and ckf, encoding a putative killing factor for the bacterial cell. PCR analyses showed that OI-57 was present in its entirety in the majority of the STEC genomes examined, indicating that it represents a stable acquisition of the positive clonal lineages. OI-57 was also present in a high proportion of the human enteropathogenic E. coli genomes assayed, suggesting that it could be involved in the attaching-and-effacing colonization of the intestinal mucosa. In conclusion, OI-57 appears to be part of the virulome of pathogenic STEC and further studies are needed to elucidate its role in the pathogenesis of STEC infections.