Helicobacter pylori is a human pathogen that has been associated with gastritis, peptic ulcer and gastric carcinoma. The role of the direct action of H. pylori virulence factors and of the induction of autoreactive immunity in the development of chronic gastritis has not been clarified yet. Here we report the cloning and molecular characterization of a gene of H. pylori coding for a protein of 58 kDa, recognized by sera of patients affected by H. pylori-induced gastroduodenal diseases. This antigen is present in all the H. pylori strains tested and it belongs to the Hsp60 family of heat-shock proteins, with high homology with other bacterial and eukaryotic proteins of the same family. This class of homologous proteins has been implicated in the induction of autoimmune disorders in different systems. The presence in infected patients of anti-H. pylori Hsp60 antibodies, potentially cross-reactivity between human Hsp60 and a rabbit antiserum against H. pylori Hsp60 suggest that a role of this protein in gastroduodenal diseases is possible.