This report describes the identification of a novel linear B-cell epitope at the N-terminus of the avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) nucleocapsid (N) protein. A monoclonal antibody designated 2D2 was prepared against the IBV N protein, and a series of 23 partially overlapping, tagged fragments of the IBV N gene were expressed. These peptides and five heterogeneous IBV strains were used to identify the epitope recognized by 2D2 using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blotting analysis. The linear motif (11)DSPAPIIKLGG(21), located at the N-terminus of the N protein, was identified as the epitope bound by 2D2. ELISA and Western blotting also showed that this epitope was recognized by IBV-positive chicken serum. We propose that this motif is a linear B-cell epitope of N protein, and is the core sequence for reactivity, as demonstrated by binding of 2D2 to the truncated peptides and different IBV strains. Alignment and comparison of the 2D2-defined epitope with other coronavirus sequences showed that the epitope is conserved among avian coronaviruses. The identified epitope might be useful for clinical applications and as a tool for further study of the structure and function of the IBV N protein.