Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) peptide epitopes can be used for immunization of mice against lethal virus infection. To study whether this approach can be successful against virus-induced tumors we generated a B6 (H-2b) tumorigenic cell line transformed by human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is detected in over 90% of all human cervical cancers. To identify vaccine candidates, we generated a set of 240 overlapping peptides derived from the HPV type 16 (HPV16) oncogenes E6 and E7. These peptides were tested for their ability to bind H-2Kb and H-2Db MHC class I molecules. Binding peptides were compared with the presently known peptide-binding motifs for H-2Kb and H-2Db and the predictive value of these motifs is shortly discussed. The high-affinity H-2Db-binding peptide and putative CTL epitope E7 49-57 (RAHYNIVTF) was used in vaccination studies against HPV 16-transformed tumor cells. Immunization with peptide E7 49-57 rendered mice insensitive to a subsequent challenge with HPV 16-transformed tumor cells in vivo, and induced a CTL response which lysed the tumor cells in vitro.