Past studies have suggested a linkage between susceptibility to Salmonella typhimurium infection and the Lps(d) genotype in C3H mice. Recently, this linkage was questioned by the finding that C3HeB/FeJ mice (Lps(n),Lps(n)) were highly susceptible to systemic S. typhimurium infection. The present study shows a marked difference between C3H/HeJ and C3HeB/FeJ in their susceptibility to Gram-negative urinary tract infection. The number of E. coli and S. typhimurium recovered from the kidneys 24 hr after infection was 70 to 100 times higher in C3H/HeJ than in C3HeB/FeJ or C3H/HeN mice. Subsequently, in C3HeB/FeJ mice S. typhimurium multiplied to the level of C3H/HeJ mice, resulting in a shorter mean survival time of C3H/HeJ and C3HeB/FeJ compared with C3H/HeN mice. In contrast, E. coli remained localized to the urinary tract of C3H/HeJ mice but were eliminated from C3HeB/FeJ and C3H/HeN mice. Thus, experimental E. coli urinary tract infection appears to provide a method to differentiate the genetic defects of C3H/HeJ and C3HeB/FeJ mice. These results support an influence of the Lps(d) genotype on clearance of Gram-negative bacteria from the kidneys of C3H mice.