Toxic shock syndrome toxin (TSST) 1 was purified from ovine (TSST-ovine) and bovine (TSST-bovine) mastitis-associated Staphylococcus aureus. These toxins were previously reported to have molecular weights identical to that of human TSST-1. However, TSST-ovine was reported as having an isoelectric point (pi) of 8.5, whereas TSST-bovine has the same pi (7.2) as TSST-1. Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed that TSST-bovine was identical to TSST-1 and that TSST-ovine had 14 nucleotide differences that changed 9 amino acid residues. Only 1 nucleotide difference, at position 514, was predicted to cause an amino acid charge difference, as glutamic acid at position 132 of TSST-1 was changed to lysine in TSST-ovine. Like TSST-1, TSST-ovine was mitogenic, but unlike TSST-1, it was not pyrogenic, was unable to enhance endotoxic shock, and was unable to induce TSS in a rabbit model. Also, TSST-ovine was less reactive to certain monoclonal antibodies raised against TSST-1.