Many cell surface-associated, divalent cation-regulated proteins are immunogenic, and some of them confer protection against the bacterial species from which they are derived. In this work, two Streptococcus suis divalent cation uptake regulator genes controlling zinc/manganese and iron uptake (adcR and fur, respectively) were inactivated in order to study the protective capacities of their cell surface-associated proteins. The results obtained showed overexpression of a set of immunogenic proteins (including members of the pneumococcal histidine triad family previously reported to confer protection against streptococcal pathogens) in S. suis adcR mutant cell surface extracts. Likewise, genes encoding zinc transporters, putative virulence factors and a ribosomal protein paralogue related to zinc starvation appeared to be derepressed in this mutant strain. Moreover, protection assays in mice showed that although neither adcR- nor fur-regulated cell surface-associated proteins were sufficient to confer protection in mice, the combination of both adcR- and fur-regulated cell surface-associated proteins is able to confer significant protection (50 %, P=0.038) against a challenge to mice vaccinated with them. © 2009 SGM.