Arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs) are abundant plant proteoglycans implicated in plant growth and development. Here, we report the genetic characterization, partial purification and immunolocalization of a classical AGP (PtaAGP6, accession number AF101785) in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.). A PtaAGP6 full-length cDNA clone was expressed in bacteria. PtaAGP6 resembles tomato LeAGP-1 and Arabidopsis AtAGP17-19 in that they all possess a subdomain composed of basic amino acids. The accessibility of this domain in the glycoprotein makes it possible to label the PtaAGP6 epitopes on the cell surface or in the cell wall with polyclonal antibodies raised against this subdomain. The antibodies recognize the peptide of the basic subdomain and bind to the intact protein molecule. A soluble protein-containing fraction was purified from the differentiating xylem of pine trees by using beta-glucosyl Yariv reagent (beta-glcY) and was recognized by antibodies against the basic subdomain. Immunolocalization studies showed that the PtaAGP6 epitopes are restricted to a file of cells that just precede secondary cell wall thickening, suggesting roles in xylem differentiation and wood formation. The location of apparent labeling of the PtaAGP6 epitopes is separated from the location of lignin deposition. Multiple single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were detected in EST variants. Denaturing HPLC analysis of PCR products suggests that PtaAGP6 is encoded by a single gene. Mobility variation in denaturing gel electrophoresis was used to map PtaAGP6 SNPs to a site on linkage group 5.