We have examined the immunological activity of five affinity-purified protein antigens from Mycobacterium tuberculosis in seven inbred and one outbred guinea pig strains. The test systems were measurements of delayed-type hypersensitivity (Dth) responses, lymphocyte stimulation assays (LS), and antibody response measurements. The results showed significant differences in the immunogenicity of the single-protein antigens and, when the antigens were considered separately, highly significant guinea pig strain differences. The outbred guinea pig strain behaved as a Dth high responder to all antigens studied. The order of magnitude of the Dth responses was not usually correlated with that of the corresponding antibody responses for the individual guinea pig strain-antigen combinations. In particular, when compared with the other strains, strain 2 guinea pigs generally gave the lowest Dth, but the highest antibody responses. A 38,000 molecular weight protein, possessing M. tuberculosis complex-specific B-cell determinants, appeared immunodominant in 5 out of 7 strains. Our Dth data in the inbred strains further suggest the presence of an M. tuberculosis-specific T-cell epitope. A T-cell line, 11D9, derived from the high-responder guinea pig strain 13 reactive to this protein, was shown to be able to confer a tuberculin-like skin reaction in vivo. LS assays with recombinant 38-kDa protein and truncated versions of the protein mapped the 11D9-defined T-cell epitope to the middle part of the molecule.