Multicellular behavior in Salmonella Typhimurium ATCC14028 called the rdar morphotype is characterized by the expression of the extracellular matrix components cellulose and curli fimbriae. Over 90% of S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis strains from human disease, food and animals expressed the rdar morphotype at 28 degrees C. Regulation of the rdar morphotype occurred via the response regulator ompR, which activated transcription of csgD required for production of cellulose and curli fimbriae. Serovar-specific regulation of csgD required rpoS in S. Typhimurium, but was partially independent of rpoS in S. Enteritidis. Rarely, strain-specific temperature-deregulated expression of the rdar morphotype was observed. The host-restricted serovars S. Typhimurium var. Copenhagen phage type DT2 and DT99, Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Choleraesuis did not express the rdar morphotype, while in Salmonella Gallinarum cellulose expression at 37 degrees C was seen in some strains. Therefore, the expression pattern of the rdar morphotype is serovar specific and correlates with a disease phenotype breaching the intestinal epithelial cell lining.