A wild-type strain of Bordetella pertussis and a series of transposon Tn5-induced mutants deficient in the production of various factors believed to play a role in pertussis (whooping cough) were tested for virulence in infant mice. The 50% lethal dose of the wild-type strain in these animals was 2 X 10(3) bacteria. A mutant deficient in the production of the filamentous hemagglutinin was almost as virulent as the wild type. Avirulent phase mutants (i.e., deficient in the production of all toxins), a pertussis-toxin mutant, and a double mutant deficient in both hemolysin and adenylate cyclase were severely impaired in the ability to cause pertussis. These data underscore the role of pertussis toxin in the disease and provide the first direct evidence that adenylate cyclase and hemolysin are important in the pathogenesis of the infection.