Protein E (PE) of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is involved in adhesion and activation of epithelial cells. A total of 186 clinical NTHi isolates, encapsulated H. influenzae, and culture collection strains were analyzed. PE was highly conserved in both NTHi and encapsulated H. influenzae (96.9%-100% identity without the signal peptide). PE also existed in other members of the genus Pasteurellaceae. The epithelial cell binding region (amino acids 84-108) was completely conserved. Phylogenetic analysis of the pe sequence separated Haemophilus species into 2 separate clusters. Importantly, PE was expressed in 98.4% of all NTHi (126 isolates) independently of the growth phase.