Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The existence of approximately 90 antigenically distinct capsular serotypes has greatly complicated the development of an effective pneumococcal vaccine. Virulence-associated proteins common and conserved among all capsular types now represent the best strategy to combat pneumococcal infections. PiuA and PiaA are the lipoprotein components of two pneumococcal iron ABC transporters and are required for full virulence in mouse models of infection. Here we describe a study of the distribution and genetic diversity of PiuA and PiaA within typical and atypical S, pneumoniae, Streptococcus oralis, and Streptococcus mitis strains. The genes encoding both PiuA and PiaA were present in all typical pneumococci tested, (covering 20 and 27 serotypes, respectively). The piuA gene was highly conserved within the typical pneumococci (03% nucleotide divergence), but was also present in "atypical" pneumococci and the closely related species S. mitis and S. oralis, showing up to 10.4% nucleotide divergence and 7.5% amino acid divergence from the typical pneumococcal alleles. Conversely, the piaA gene was found to be specific to typical pneumococci, 100% conserved, and absent from the oral streptococci, including isolates of S. mitis known to possess pneumolysin and autolysin. These are desirable qualities for a vaccine candidate and as a diagnostic tool for S. pneumoniae.