Isolates of Escherichia coli from human urinary tract infections frequently express adherence properties found less often among normal intestinal isolates. These properties include adherence to human uroepithelial cells and primary monkey kidney cells, as well as D-mannose-resistant hemagglutination of human erythrocytes, and they are mediated by a pilus type different from type 1. The genes encoding this pilus type (pyelonephritis-associated pili, pap) and those encoding type 1 pili have been cloned from a urinary tract infection isolate of E. coli and transferred to an E. coli K-12 derivative. The recombinant plasmids were found to express functional pili and to endow the new host with all of the adherence properties of the urinary tract infection isolate. Both pilus types were found to be genetically distinct, and unlike the adherence genes from bovine, porcine, and human diarrheal isolates, both were found to be chromosomally encoded.