The antigenic structures that initiate T cell responses to foreign (allogeneic) cells have long attracted considerable interest. We have purified and sequenced a peptide from mouse spleen that is recognized in association with the class I MHC protein H-2Ld by 2C, an alloreactive CD8+ T cell clone. The peptide (LSP-FPFDL) greatly enhances the susceptibility of Ld+ cells to lysis by 2C, and this activity is completely blocked by a clonotypic antibody against the 2C T cell receptor. Thus, this study characterizes the naturally occurring peptide moiety of an MHC-I/peptide complex recognized by alloreactive CD8+ T cells. The peptide, which occurs in the thymus of MHC-disparate mice, can be used to study T cell development in mice expressing transgenes for the 2C T cell receptor.