Transgenic murine lines have been constructed that express a chimeric class I molecule composed of the alpha 1 and alpha 2 domains of HLA-A2.1 and the alpha 3, transmembrane, and cytoplasmic domains of H-2Kb. Upon immunization with influenza virus, transgenic mice developed a strong A2.1Kb-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) response specific for the same matrix protein epitope that serves as the dominant A2.1-restricted determinant in the equivalent human response. Fine specificity analysis of CTL clones using truncated peptides revealed strong similarity between the response repertoire of transgenic mice and that previously reported using influenza-specific A2.1-restricted CTL clones from humans. This suggests that even when considering T cell responses by different species, the alpha 1 and alpha 2 domains of the restriction element play a dominant role in determining the CTL specific repertoire. Thus, substituting the alpha 3 domain of A2.1 with a murine counterpart has permitted development of a transgenic strain that should serve as an excellent model system in studies of HLA-restricted responses.