The Gram-positive pathogen Streptococcus agalactiae or group B streptococcus (GBS) is the leading cause of bacterial septicemia, pneumonia and meningitis among neonates around the world. The pathogen assembles two types of pili on its surface, named PI-1 and PI-2, that mediate bacterial adherence to host cells. The GBS PI-1 pilus is formed by the major pilin GBS80, which forms the pilus shaft, and two minor pilins GBS104 and GBS52, which are incorporated into the pilus structure. While considerable structural information exists on Gram-negative pili, the structural study of Gram-positive pili is an emerging area of research. Here, the purification, crystallization and initial phasing of the 35 kDa major fragment of the backbone pilin GBS80 are reported. Crystals were obtained in two different space groups: P21 and C2. SAD data collected from an iodide-derivative crystal at the home source were used to obtain initial phases and interpretable electron-density maps. © 2010 International Union of Crystallography. All rights reserved.