Helicobacter felis has been used extensively in animal model studies of gastric Helicobacter infections. Attempts to manipulate H. felis genetically have, however, been unsuccessful and, consequently, little is known about the pathogenic mechanisms of this bacterium. In common with other Helicobacter spp., H. felis is a highly motile organism. To characterize the flagellar structures responsible for this motility, we cloned and sequenced the two flagellin-encoding genes, flaA and flaB, from H. felis. These genes encode two flagellin proteins that are expressed simultaneously under the control of putative sigma28 and sigma54 promoters respectively. Isogenic mutants of H. felis in flaA and flaB were generated by electroporation-mediated allelic disruption and replacement, showing for the first time that H. felis could be manipulated genetically. Both types of H. felis flagellin mutants exhibited truncated flagella and were poorly motile. H. felis flaA mutants were unable to colonize the gastric mucosa in a mouse infection model.