The entry of Salmonella into cultured epithelial cells is dependent on genes located in several adjacent chromosomal loci. One of these loci encodes the recently identified secretory proteins, denoted Sips (Salmonella invasion proteins). SipB, C,D proteins are essential for the ability of the pathogen to invade epithelial cells. To examine if additional invasion-associated proteins were secreted by Salmonella dublin, the genes encoding already characterized secretory proteins were inactivated to facilitate this analysis. The proteins produced and secreted by a double fIIM/polar sipB mutant of S. dublin were analysed; this revealed a set of novel secreted proteins. These proteins, which we denoted Sops (Salmonella outer proteins), formed large filamentous aggregates in the medium of bacterial culture growing at 37 degrees C. These aggregates contained five predominant proteins. Here we report the identification and characterization of one of these proteins, SopE, which is a novel invasion-associated secretory protein of S. dublin. A specific sopE mutant of S. dublin was found to be defective for invasion into epithelial cells. Upon interaction of Salmonella with HeLa cells, SopE was found to be translocated into the cytoplasm of the target cell by extracellular bacteria. The translocation of SopE was shown to be dependent on the Sip proteins because a polar sipB mutant did not translocate SopE across the HeLa cell membrane.