Independent studies have demonstrated that flagella are associated with the invasive process of Salmonella enterica serotypes, and aflagellate derivatives of Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis are attenuated in murine and avian models of infection. One widely held view is that the motility afforded by flagella, probably aided by chemotactic responses, mediates the initial interaction between bacterium and host cell. The adherence and invasion properties of two S. Enteritidis wild-type strains and isogenic aflagellate mutants were assessed on HEp-2 and Div-1 cells that are of human and avian epithelial origin, respectively. Both aflagellate derivatives showed a significant reduction of invasion compared with wild type over the three hours of the assays. Complementation of the defective fliC allele recovered partially the wild-type phenotype. Examination of the bacterium-host cell interaction by electron and confocal microscopy approaches showed that wild-type bacteria induced ruffle formation and significant cytoskeletal rearrangements on HEp-2 cells within 5 minutes of contact. The aflagellate derivatives induced fewer ruffles than wild type. Ruffle formation on the Div-1 cell line was less pronounced than for HEp-2 cells for wild-type S. Enteritidis. Collectively, these data support the hypothesis that flagella play an active role in the early events of the invasive process.