CD8+ murine CTL that are specific for an unusual nonpeptide Ag, the heme moiety of hemoglobin, have been derived by in vitro stimulation of spleen cells with hemin. Such CTL demonstrate a requirement for the expression of class I Ag on target cells, yet appear to be unrestricted to the extent that both syngeneic and allogeneic targets precoated with hemin are sensitive to lysis. A series of CTL clones with specificity for hemin was derived from C57BL/6 mice. They exhibited the same type of promiscuous recognition that was observed in CTL populations from a number of different strains. The possibility that hemin acts as a nonspecific mediator of lysis by CTL was ruled out by the fact that a variety of CTL populations and clones specific for different Ag did not exhibit hemin-specific lysis. Some explanations offered to explain these results include 1) the possibility that hemin is recognized by binding to a site on the MHC other than the Ag-binding groove, and 2) the possibility that TCR recognition of a rigid molecule, such as hemin, may be less sensitive to polymorphic variation in the MHC than is recognition of a conventional peptide Ag whose conformation may differ significantly when bound to MHC molecules whose sequences differ within the Ag-binding groove.