In Shigella boydii 0-1392, genes encoding the synthesis and transport of the hydroxamate siderophore aerobactin are located within a 21-kb iron transport island between lysU and the pheU tRNA gene. DNA sequence analysis of the S. boydii 0-1392 island, designated SHI-3 for Shigella island 3, revealed a conserved aerobactin operon associated with a P4 prophage-like integrase gene and numerous insertion sequences (IS). SHI-3 is present at the pheU tRNA locus in some S. boydii isolates but not in others. The map locations of the aerobactin genes vary among closely related species. The association of the aerobactin operon with phage genes and mobile elements and its presence at different locations within the genomes of enteric pathogens suggest that these virulence-enhancing genes may have been acquired by bacteriophage integration or IS element-mediated transposition. An S. boydii aerobactin synthesis mutant, 0-1392 iucB, was constructed and was similar to the wild type in tissue culture assays of invasion and intercellular spread.