Based on studies on the genetic and molecular basis of Shigella flexneri invasive properties, we have constructed and evaluated a double mutant of S. flexneri serotype 5 for utilization as a live attenuated oral vaccine against shigellosis. The first mutation, icsA, blocks intracellular spread of bacteria as well as cell-to-cell infection. It affects the capacity of the invasive pathogen to form large abscesses in epithelia. The second mutation, iuc, eliminates production of the siderophore aerobactin thus impairing growth of the bacterium within tissues. This double mutant, SC5700 appeared safe when administered intragastrically to macaque monkeys as three doses (5 x 10(10) c.f.u. each) at weekly intervals. Protection against a challenge by the wild type isolate (M90T) was observed 4 weeks after the last vaccine inoculation. Duration of carriage was considerably reduced as compared to the control group in which all animals had developed severe dysentery. Seroconversion against serotype 5 LPS as well as S. flexneri virulence associated polypeptides was also observed.