Both human and murine cytotoxic T cells (CTL) elicited in response to infection with influenza A viruses have been shown to be specific for internal viral proteins, such as the matrix and nucleoprotein. Individual CTL epitopes have been identified in the nucleoprotein by successfully substituting short synthetic peptides for the intact virus in the preparation of target cells in cytotoxicity assays. The defined peptide epitopes have each been recognized by CTL in association with individual class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins, H-2Db, H-2Kk, H-2Kd (Taylor, P. et al., unpublished data) and HLA-B37. A logical strategy to investigate the molecular details of the interaction between antigen and MHC class I proteins would be to define an epitope recognized by the MHC class I molecule HLA-A2. This is because the amino-acid sequence is known, several variants of A2 have been characterized and the protein has been purified and crystallized. Here we describe a peptide derived from the influenza matrix protein that is recognized by human CTL in association with the HLA-A2 molecule.