Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses to herpes simplex virus (HSV) polypeptides play an important role in recovery from infection and in preventing latency. We have previously shown that glycoprotein B (gB) is a major target recognized by HSV-specific CTLs in C57BL/6 (H-2b) and BALB/c (H-2d) mice but not in CBA/J (H-2k) mice (L. A. Witmer, K. L. Rosenthal, F. L. Graham, H. M. Friedman, A. Yee, and D. C. Johnson, J. Gen. Virol. 71:387-396, 1990). In this report, we utilize adenovirus vectors expressing gB with various deletions to localize an immunodominant site in gB, recognized by H-2b-restricted anti-HSV CTLs, to a region between residues 462 and 594. Overlapping peptides spanning this region were synthesized and used to further localize the immunodominant site to residues 489 to 515, a region highly conserved in HSV type 1 (HSV-1) and HSV-2 strains. The 11-amino-acid peptide was apparently associated exclusively with the Kb major histocompatibility complex gene product and not the Db gene product. In contrast, H-2d-restricted CTLs recognized an immunodominant site between residues 233 and 379.