Streptococcus mutans antigen I/II (AgI/II) protein was one of the first cell wall-anchored adhesins identified in Gram-positive bacteria. It mediates attachment of S. mutans to tooth surfaces and has been a focus for immunization studies against dental caries. The AgI/II family polypeptides recognize salivary glycoproteins, and are also involved in biofilm formation, platelet aggregation, tissue invasion and immune modulation. The genes encoding AgI/II family polypeptides are found among Streptococcus species indigenous to the human mouth, as well as in Streptococcus pyogenes, S. agalactiae and S. suis. Evidence of functionalities for different regions of the AgI/II proteins has emerged. A sequence motif within the C-terminal portion of Streptococcus gordonii SspB (AgI/II) is bound by Porphyromonas gingivalis, thus promoting oral colonization by this anaerobic pathogen. The significance of other epitopes is now clearer following resolution of regional crystal structures. A new picture emerges of the central V (variable) region, predicted to contain a carbohydrate-binding trench, being projected from the cell surface by a stalk formed by an unusual association between an N-terminal α-helix and a C-terminal polyproline helix. This presentation mode might be important in determining functional conformations of other Gram-positive surface proteins that have adhesin domains flanked by α-helical and proline-rich regions. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.