A complete Xba I and Bln I cleavage map was constructed for the chromosome of an enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) O157:H7 strain isolated from an outbreak in Sakai City, Japan, in 1996. A comparative chromosome analysis with E. coli K-12 strain MG1655 was made. The EHEC chromosome was approximately 5600 kb in length, 1 Mb larger than that of MG1655. Despite the marked difference in chromosome length, the location and direction of seven rRNA operons of the EHEC strain were similar to those for MG1655. Overall organization of genes common in both strains is also highly conserved. Chromosome expansion was observed throughout the EHEC chromosome, albeit in an uneven manner. A large portion of the chromosome enlargement was observed in the region surrounding the replication terminus, particularly in a segment containing the terA locus. Sample sequencing of 3627 random shotgun clones suggested the presence of approximately 1550 kb strain-specific DNAs on the EHEC chromosome, most of which are likely to be of foreign origin.