Substantial evidence argues that human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-specific CD4(+) T cells play an important role in the control of HIV-1 replication in infected individuals. Moreover, it is increasingly clear that an HIV vaccine should elicit potent cytotoxic lymphocyte and antibody responses that will likely require an efficient CD4(+) T-cell response. Therefore, understanding and characterizing HIV-specific CD4(+) T-cell responses is an important aim. Here we describe the generation of HIV-1 Gag- and Gag peptide-specific CD4(+) T-cell clones from an HIV-1-seronegative donor by in vitro immunization with HIV-1 Gag peptides. The Gag peptides were able to induce a strong CD4(+) T-cell immune response in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the HIV-1-seronegative donor. Six Gag peptide-specific CD4(+) T-cell clones were isolated and their epitopes were mapped. The region of p24 between amino acids 201 and 300 of Gag was defined as the immunodominant region of Gag. A new T helper epitope in the p6 protein of Gag was identified. Two clones were shown to recognize Gag peptides and processed Gag protein, while the other four clones reacted only to Gag peptides under the experimental conditions used. Functional analysis of the clones indicated that both Th1 and Th2 types of CD4(+) T cells were obtained. One clone showed direct antigen-specific cytotoxic activity. These clones represent a valuable tool for understanding the cellular immune response to HIV-1, and the study provides new insights into the HIV-1-specific CD4(+) T-cell response and the induction of an anti-Gag and -Gag peptide cellular primary immune response in vitro.