The surface proteins of several Bordetella strains and their modulated derivatives were examined by surface radioiodination, cell fractionation, and Western blotting. A surface protein with a high M(r), missing in a mutant lacking the filamentous hemagglutinin, was identified in virulent Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis cells and was absent in avirulent B. pertussis strains. The electrophoretic profiles of lipopolysaccharide and the 40,000-M(r) anion-selective porin were not determinants which correlated with phase variation or phenotypic modulation. At least three envelope proteins (91,000, 32,000, and 30,000 molecular weight) were found only in virulent B. pertussis strains and were absent or diminished in the avirulent phase and most phenotypically modulated strains. Two transposon-induced mutants unable to produce hemolysin, dermonecrotic toxin, pertussis toxin, and filamentous hemagglutinin also lacked these three envelope proteins, confirming that virulence-associated envelope proteins were genetically regulated with other virulence-associated traits.