The immune response to three peptides corresponding to the repeat regions of the malaria candidate vaccine ring infected E surface Ag (RESA) were studied. Both antibody responses and lymphocyte stimulation in mice injected with these peptides without carrier were found to be restricted to certain MHC class II haplotypes. Mice bearing IAk were strong responders to all three peptides. Mice bearing IAd were strong responders only to the 3' repeat peptides, the octamer and tetramer. Mice bearing Is or Iq did not respond to any repeat peptides. Remarkably, the pattern of genetic restriction of the antibody response to the entire RESA as expressed in vaccinia indicated that there were no other epitopes besides the three repeats. Because only one class II haplotype (i.e., k) out of five tested responded strongly to this peptide and only two out of five (i.e., k and d) responded to the octamer or tetramer, it may be difficult to achieve a good immune response against RESA in most or all humans.