Oral immunization with an attenuated Salmonella typhimurium recombinant containing the full-length Plasmodium berghei circumsporozoite (CS) gene induces protective immunity against P. berghei sporozoite challenge in the absence of antibody. We found that this immunity was mediated through the induction of specific CD8+ T cells since in vivo elimination of CD8+ cells abrogated protection. In vitro studies revealed that this Salmonella-P. berghei CS recombinant induced class I-restricted CD8+ cytotoxic T cells that are directed against the P. berghei CS peptide epitope spanning amino acids 242-253. This is the same peptide that previously was identified as the target of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) induced by sporozoite immunization. Salmonella-P. falciparum CS recombinants were constructed that contained either the full-length CS gene or a repeatless gene consisting of CS flanking sequences. Both of these vaccines were able to induce CD8+ CTL directed against P. falciparum CS peptide 371-390, which is identical to the target of CTL induced by sporozoites and vaccinia CS recombinants. These results directly demonstrate the ability of an intracellular bacteria such as Salmonella to induce class I-restricted CD8+ CTL and illustrate the importance of CD8+ CTL in immunity to malaria.