Escherichia coli F-18, a normal human fecal isolate, is an excellent colonizer of the streptomycin-treated mouse large intestine. E. coli F-18Col-, a derivative of E. coli F-18 which no longer makes the E. coli F-18 colicin, colonizes the large intestine as well as E. coli F-18 when fed to mice alone but is eliminated when fed together with E. coli F-18. Recently we randomly cloned E. coli F-18 DNA into E. coli F-18Col- and let the mouse intestine select the best colonizer. In this way, we isolated a 6.5-kb E. coli F-18 DNA sequence that simultaneously stimulated synthesis of type 1 fimbriae and enhanced E. coli F-18Col- colonizing ability. In the present investigation we show that the gene responsible for stimulation of type 1 fimbriae synthesis appears to be leuX, which encodes a tRNA specific for the rare leucine codon UUG. Moreover, it appears that expression of leuX may be regulated by two proteins (22 kDa and 26 kDa) encoded by genes immediately adjacent to leuX.