In this study we investigate the 57 kD heat shock protein of Chlamydia trachomatis for potential HLA-B27 restricted T cell epitopes. This protein is known to elicit T cell immunity, as judged by delayed type hypersensitivity. We synthesized 24 peptides containing the B27 anchor amino acid arginine at position 2, according to the rules previously described for peptide binding to MHC class I molecules. The nonamer peptides were tested in an in vitro assembly assay; six out of the 24 peptides bind to HLA-B27 although their sequences only partially match the HLA-B27 binding motif. Two of these six peptides carry negatively charged amino acids which apparently fit into the P1 pocket and in three out of the six a positively charged amino acid fits into the P3 pocket. In addition, two octamer peptides stabilized the HLA-B27 molecule without containing an appropriate amino or carboxy terminus. Therefore our data suggest that current binding rules will need to be refined before they can be used to accurately predict potential T cell epitopes. Furthermore our HLA-B27-binding peptides should prove useful probes for the study of the processing and presentation of this bacterial antigen, and of changes in the T cell repertoire induced by this form of infection.