The antigenic structure of the rabies virus glycoprotein has been studied. A limited number of fragments were obtained by cyanogen bromide (CNBr) cleavage of viral glycoprotein, and eight large peptides were isolated by using sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. These were tested for their capacity to stimulate the proliferation of nylon wool-purified T cells obtained from spleens of rabies-immune A/J mice. Three peptides (Cr1, Cr2 plus Cr2A, and Cr3) stimulated antigen-specific proliferation, indicating that at least three T cell determinants of the native molecule are sequential or continuous in nature. Stimulation was also obtained with 27-residue and 13-residue synthetic peptides (designated R21 and R20, respectively) that included sequences towards the carboxy terminal end of Cr1, but not with synthetic peptides that included sequences of Cr2 and Cr3 (which are both glycosylated in virus-derived material). The intact viral glycoprotein and synthetic peptide R21 stimulated T lymphocytes with surface characteristics of helper cells, and induced the production of interleukin 2 by these lymphocytes. Synthetic peptides R20 and R21 also stimulated a minor population of Lyt-2-positive cells, which were not yet identified as either suppressor or cytotoxic T lymphocytes.