One of the major challenges in the development of group A streptococcal M protein-based vaccines is the multiplicity of M types expressed by these organisms. Previous studies have shown that multivalent vaccines containing as many as eight M protein fragments in tandem were immunogenic and evoked opsonic antibodies. It was also noted that the C-terminal fragments of these hybrid proteins were often not immunogenic or evoked only low levels of opsonic antibodies, suggesting that the C-terminus of the molecule may have been preferentially degraded or altered in vivo. In the present studies, we designed a hexavalent vaccine containing protective M protein peptides from types 24, 5, 6, 19, 1, and 3 group A streptococci. In order to "protect" the carboxy-terminal components, the amino-terminal M24 fragment was reiterated on the carboxy-terminal end of the construct. The hexavalent vaccine was immunogenic in laboratory animals and evoked high titers of antibodies against each of the native M proteins represented in the vaccine and bactericidal antibodies against all six sterotypes of group A streptococci. The vaccine was equally immunogenic when delivered in alum or in complete Freund's adjuvant. None of the immune sera contained antibodies that crossreacted with human heart tissue. Our results show that complex multivalent group A streptococcal vaccines can be designed in such a way that each M protein fragment is immunogenic and evokes protective antibodies.