We recently isolated a cDNA clone that encodes the melanocyte lineage-specific antigen glycoprotein (gp)100. Antibodies directed against gp100 are an important tool in the diagnosis of human melanoma. Since the gp100 antigen is highly expressed in melanocytic cells, we investigated whether this antigen might serve as a target for antimelanoma cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Here, we demonstrate that cytotoxic tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) derived from a melanoma patient (TIL 1200) are directed against gp100. HLA-A2.1+ melanoma cells are lysed by TIL from this patient. In addition, murine double transfectants, expressing both HLA-A2.1 and gp100, are lysed by TIL 1200, whereas transfectants expressing only HLA-A2.1 are not susceptible to lysis. Furthermore, the HLA-A2.1+ melanoma cell line BLM, which lacks gp100 expression and is resistant to lysis, becomes susceptible after transfection of gp100 cDNA. Finally, HLA-A2.1+ normal melanocytes are lysed by TIL 1200. These data demonstrate that the melanocyte differentiation antigen gp100 can be recognized in the context of HLA-A2.1 by CTL from a melanoma patient. Gp100 may therefore constitute a useful target for specific immunotherapy against melanoma, provided that no unacceptable cytotoxicity towards normal tissue is observed.