The yellow fever virus 17D vaccine strain is one of the most effective and safe vaccines available. The immune response after immunization is characterized by long-lasting high titers of neutralizing antibodies. Here, we have initiated a characterization of YFV-17D-specific cellular immune responses. This study makes three points. First, we have identified two CD8 T cell epitopes and one CD4 T cell epitope. An H-2Kb-restricted dominant epitope was mapped in the NS3 protein, whereas the viral envelope protein harbored an H-2Db-restricted subdominant epitope and the I-Ab-restricted CD4 T cell epitope. Second, illustrating the concept of immunodomination, we found that after abrogation of the dominant response in H-2Kb knockout mice, the frequencies of T cells recognizing the subdominant Db-restricted epitope increased dramatically. Finally, the H-2Db-restricted epitope lacks the canonical Asn anchor residue at position 5, indicating that epitopes may be missed by strict application of the H-2Db-binding motif. Identification of these T cell epitopes will facilitate studies on the cellular immunity against YFV-based expression or immunization vectors. © 2002 Elsevier Science (USA).