The parasite Toxoplasma gondii replicates in a specialized intracellular vacuole and causes disease in many species. Protection from toxoplasmosis is mediated by CD8(+) T cells, but the T. gondii antigens and host genes required for eliciting protective immunity are poorly defined. Here we identified GRA6, a polymorphic protein secreted in the parasitophorous vacuole, as the source of the immunodominant and protective decapeptide HF10 presented by the H-2L(d) major histocompatibility complex class I molecule. Presentation of the HF10-H-2L(d) ligand required proteolysis by ERAAP, the endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase associated with antigen processing. Consequently, expansion of protective CD8(+) T cell populations was impaired in T. gondii-infected ERAAP-deficient mice, which were more susceptible to toxoplasmosis. Thus, endoplasmic reticulum proteolysis is critical for eliciting protective immunity to a vacuolar parasite.