In ex-germ-free mice conventionalized by association with fecal microorganisms, the induction fo major histocompatibility complex class II molecules and fucosylation of asialo GM1 glycolipid occur in the small intestinal epithelial cells (IEC). The intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL), especially alpha beta T-cell receptor-bearing ones, also remarkably expand and show cytolytic activity. In this study, we investigated the immunological and physiological characteristics of the small intestine induced by a kind of indigenous bacteria of the small intestine, segmental filamentous bacteria (SFB), among chloroform-resistant intestinal bacteria. Monoassociation of SFB with germ-free mice was confirmed by the determination of the base sequences of polymerase chain reaction products of 16S rRNA genes of the fecal bacteria of these mice and in situ hybridization using fluorescein-labeled probes based on them. SFB increased the number of alpha beta TCR-bearing IEL and induced Thy-1 expression and cytolytic activity of IEL. The induction of MHC class II molecules and fucosyl asialo GM1 glycolipids and the increases in the mitotic activity and the ratio of the number of columnar cells to those of goblet cells also occurred in the small intestinal epithelial cells on monoassociation of these bacteria. SFB are important indigenous bacteria for the development of the mucosal architecture and immune system in the small intestine, at least in mice.