Results from characterization of 211 GBS isolates from early-onset disease indicated that serotypes Ia, III and V accounted for almost 80% of the isolates, and that alpha was the protein most often expressed. Each of the common polysaccharide types had a characteristic predominant protein expression pattern: alpha for Ia, R4 for type III and R1+R4 for type V isolates. Expression of alpha protein was always mutually exclusive of R proteins. The presence of more than one species of R by a given isolate was confirmed by IEP. In addition, PAGE/WB studies verified the multiple MW forms of R1, and the variation from strain to strain in the highest form of R4 that we had previously reported. Our data not only showed the great complexity of the GBS cell surface but also demonstrated the advantage of using both type polysaccharides and surface-localized proteins as markers for characterization of GBS strains.