Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) of serotype O6:H16, biotype A, bearing colonization factor antigen II (CFA/II) possesses two distinct coli surface antigens, CS1 and CS3, whereas CFA/II-positive ETEC of serotype O8:H9 manifests only CS3. CS1 has been shown to be fimbrial in nature, but heretofore the morphology of CS3 has not been described. Accordingly, by immune electron microscopy we investigated the morphological characteristics of CS3 on bacterial cells and after purification. CS3 was found to consist of thin (2-nm), flexible, wiry, "fibrillar" fimbriae, visible both on bacteria (O6:H16, biotype A, and O8:H9 strains) and in the pure state. In contrast, CS1 exists as wider (6-nm), rigid fimbriae on the surface of O6:H16, biotype A, strains. By the use of antisera to CS1 and CS3 in immune electron microscopy, immunodiffusion in gel, and immunoblotting techniques, CS1 and CS3 were found to be immunologically as well as morphologically distinct. Six of nine volunteers who developed diarrhea after challenge with an O139:H28 ETEC strain bearing CS1 and CS3 had significant serological rises to purified CS1 and CS3 antigens, suggesting that both antigens are elaborated in vivo, play a role in pathogenesis, and stimulate an immune response.