Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) are closely related pathogens. Both use a type III secretion system (TTSS) encoded by the 'locus of enterocyte effacement' (LEE) to subvert and attach to epithelial cells through the injection of a repertoire of effector molecules. Here, we report the identification of a new TTSS translocated effector molecule called Cif, which blocks cell cycle G2/M transition and induces the formation of stress fibres through the recruitment of focal adhesions. Cif is not encoded by the LEE but by a lambdoid prophage present in EPEC and EHEC. A cif mutant causes localized effacement of microvilli and intimately attaches to the host cell surface, but is defective in the ability to block mitosis. When expressed in TTSS competent LEE-positive pathogens, Cif is injected into the infected epithelial cells.These cells arrested at the G2/ M phase displayed accumulation of inactive phosphorylated Cdk1. In conclusion, Cif is a new member of a growing family of bacterial cyclomodulins that subvert the host eukaryotic cell cycle.