The focus of this study was the phenotypic characterization of Salmonella typhimurium mutants lacking the function of the response regulator mviA. The inactivation of mviA+ (mviA::kan) is shown to induce a significant change in the growth of most virulent strains, as reflected in the size of the colonies formed on agar plates. The colony phenotype observed in these strains has been designated as the small colony morphology (Scm+) phenotype. Mutants exhibiting the Scm+ phenotype are shown to be significantly attenuated for virulence in susceptible (ItyB) mice. The Scm+ phenotype therefore provides an in vitro phenotypic marker for mviA+ activity. Further examination of Scm+ mutants has revealed that they lack expression of a 55 kDa periplasmic protein which is detected in isogenic mviA+ strains. This protein has been designated mviA+ related protein A (MrpA) and was expressed in direct correlation with virulence in all S. typhimurium strains examined.