The genes encoding the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex (pdhA, pdhB, pdhC and pdhD) from Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae have been cloned and sequenced. The genes are arranged into two operons, designated pdhAB and pdhCD, which are not found together in the chromosome. The pdhA, pdhB, pdhC and pdhD genes encode proteins of predicted molecular masses of 44.2 kDa (pyruvate dehydrogenase major subunit; E1alpha), 36.6 kDa (pyruvate dehydrogenase minor subunit; E1beta), 33.1 kDa (dihydrolipoyl acetyltransferase; E2) and 66.3 kDa (dihydrolipoyl dehydrogenase; E3), respectively. Sequence analysis of the pdhCD operon revealed the presence of a lipoyl-binding domain in pdhD but not in pdhC. The lipoyl domain is believed to act as a "swinging arm" that spans the gaps between the catalytic domains of each of the subunits. Portions of the N-terminal regions of pdhA and pdhD were expressed as 6xHis-tag fusion proteins in Escherichia coli and purified by nickel affinity chromatography. The purified proteins were used to raise antibodies in rabbits, and Western blot analysis was performed with the polyclonal rabbit antiserum. Both the pdhA and pdhD genes were expressed among various strains of M. hyopneumoniae as well as the porcine mycoplasmas, Mycoplasma hyorhinis and Mycoplasma flocculare. Southern hybridisation analysis using probes from pdhA and pdhD detected one copy of each gene in the chromosome of M. hyopneumoniae. Since previous studies have shown pyruvate dehydrogenase activity in M. hyopneumoniae [J. Gen. Microbiol. 134 (1988) 791], it appears likely that a functional lipoyl-binding domain in the N terminus of PdhC is not an absolute prerequisite for pyruvate dehydrogenase enzyme activity. We hypothesise that the lipoyl-binding domain of PdhD is performing the enzymatic function normally attributed to the PdhC lipoyl-binding domain in other organisms. Searches of pyruvate dehydrogenase gene sequences derived from other Mycoplasma species showed that a putative lipoyl domain was absent in the pdhC gene from Mycoplasma pulmonis. However, like other bacterial species, pdhC gene sequences from Mycoplasma capricolum, Mycoplasma genitalium and Mycoplasma pneumoniae contain a putative lipoyl domain.