The E6 oncoprotein of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16 E6) produced by tumor cells of HPV16-associated cervical carcinoma is poorly immunogenic in patients, but nonetheless is a tumor-specific antigen to which therapeutic vaccine strategies may be directed. To investigate the subunit immunogenicity of E6 protein at the T-helper cell level, we immunized mice with overlapping peptides spanning the entire 158 amino acid sequence. Two peptides recalled a proliferative response in lymph node cells (LNC) from C57BL/6 (H-2b)-immunized mice. One of these peptides also recalled proliferative responses in the context of 5/5 other major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II haplotypes, indicating a "promiscuous" T-epitope. Minimal consensus motif analysis identified the epitopes as 60VYRDGNPYA68 and 98GYNKPLCDLL107. LNC from mice immunized with T-epitope proliferated in response to challenge with whole E6 protein. Immunization with E6 T-epitopes linked to B-epitopes of HPV16 E7 protein elicited specific antibody indicating that T-cells recognizing the T-epitopes provided cognate "help" for B-cells. LNC from mice co-immunized with E6 T-epitope and the major T-helper epitope of HPV16 E7 (48DRAHYNI54) proliferated comparably when challenged with the peptides individually indicating co-dominance of the two T-epitopes. The findings have implications for incorporation of E6 into a therapeutic vaccine.