Background: Pathogenic mechanisms in infective endocarditis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and cardiovascular events involve the aggregation of platelets into thrombi. Attendant infection by oral bacteria contributes to these diseases. We have been studying how certain oral streptococci induce platelet aggregation in vitro and in vivo. Streptococcus sanguis expresses a platelet aggregation-associated protein (PAAP), which contributes little to adhesion to platelets. When specific antibodies or peptides block PAAP, S. sanguis fails to induce platelet aggregation in vitro or in vivo.