Most persons infected with Helicobacter pylori strains that produce vacuolating cytotoxin and possess cytotoxin-associated gene A (cagA) genotype nonetheless remain asymptomatic, suggesting that additional genes are important in virulence. We hypothesized that adherence to gastric epithelium provides stimuli that induce expression of some virulence genes. Our aims were to identify expression of H. pylori genes induced by adherence and to determine if such genes were correlated with peptic ulceration, mucosal interleukin-8 (IL-8) levels, and gastric inflammation. RNA was isolated from an ulcer-derived strain and a gastritis-derived strain that were exposed or not exposed to gastric epithelial cells. These RNAs were used for random arbitrarily primed reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction to identify newly expressed transcripts unique to the ulcer-derived strain following adherence. Clinical isolates of H. pylori were characterized for presence of the newly identified gene, and mucosal IL-8 and inflammation were examined in gastric biopsies from the source patients. A novel H. pylori gene, iceA (induced by contact with epithelium), was identified. DNA sequences revealed two families, iceA1 and iceA2. iceA1 strains were significantly associated with peptic ulceration and increased mucosal concentrations of IL-8. Both iceA1 and iceA2 were expressed in vivo by respective H. pylori strains in gastric biopsies. Adherence to gastric epithelial cells in vitro stimulates the transcription of iceA1, an H. pylori gene that is highly correlated with pathological outcome.