Microarray technology was used to identify genes in Erwinia chrysanthemi 3937 that are specifically up- or down-regulated in a plant host compared with growth in laboratory culture medium. Several genes were plant down-regulated, and almost all of them were homologues of well-known housekeeping genes, such as those encoding metabolic functions, oxidative phosphorylation components, and transcription or translation processes. On the other hand, almost all of the plant up-regulated genes were involved with specialized functions, including already known or new putative virulence factors, anaerobiosis, iron uptake, transporters or permeases, xenobiotic resistance, chemotaxis, and stress responses to reactive oxygen species and heat. A substantial number of the plant up-regulated genes do not appear to be directly involved in damaging the host, but are probably important in adapting the pathogen to the host environment. We constructed insertion mutations in several of the plant up-regulated E. chrysanthemi 3937 genes. Among these, mutations of Bacillus subtilis pps1, Escherichia coli purU, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa pheC homologues reduced virulence on African violet leaves. Thus, new insights were obtained into genes important in bacterial virulence.