Ocular and urogenital tract infections with Chlamydia trachomatis can progress to chronic inflammatory diseases that produce blindness and tubal infertility. The pathophysiology of these chronic disease conditions is thought to be immunologically mediated, and the chlamydial 60-kDa heat shock protein (hsp60) has been implicated as a major target antigen that stimulates the immunopathological response. The lack of chlamydial hsp60 antibodies and purified hsp60 has severely restricted studies to define more thoroughly the role of this protein in the immunopathogenesis of chlamydial disease. We produced a panel of antichlamydial hsp60 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and defined their specificities by immunoblotting against lysates of C. trachomatis, C. psittaci, and six other genera of bacteria. Three patterns of anti-hsp60 immunoreactivity were observed: chlamydial species specific, chlamydial genus specific, and cross-reactive. The epitopes recognized by these MAbs were localized within the primary amino acid sequence of hsp60 by immunoblotting against recombinant amino-terminal truncated hsp60 fusion polypeptides and then precisely mapped by use of overlapping synthetic peptides. The majority of the MAbs mapped to either the amino or the carboxyl termini of hsp60. Epitopes defining all three MAb reactivities mapped within amino-terminal residues 6 to 16. Genus-specific hsp60 MAbs mapped to epitopes located within this region and to residues 17 to 28 and 177 to 189. Antichlamydial hsp60 MAbs stained inclusions as effectively as MAbs specific for the major outer membrane protein. Homogeneous preparations of full-length recombinant chlamydial hsp60 and amino-terminal truncated recombinant hsp60 polypeptides were obtained by immunoabsorption chromatography with an hsp60 MAb reactive to the carboxyl terminus of the protein. Thus, the antichlamydial MAbs described here should be extremely useful for the specific immunodetection of hsp60 in tissues from individuals having different disease manifestations and for the purification of hsp60 or truncated hsp60 polypeptides for use in serologic and lymphocyte proliferation assays. The availability of these MAbs will facilitate studies to define more precisely the role of hsp60 in the immunopathogenesis of chlamydial disease.