In studies of T cell responses to synthetic peptides we have observed agonist and antagonist activities associated with contaminants identified within the parent synthesis. The synthesis of two candidate analogues implied by a peptide contaminant formed during the synthesis of La 51-58 (IMIKFNRL) has been carried out. The peptide contaminant was 17-18 Da smaller than the parent peptide consistent with a modified asparagine residue at position 6 and so we synthesised both an aspartimide and a nitrile analogue, representing cyclisation or dehydration of the asparagine residue. The candidate aspartimide and nitrile analogues both bound empty MHC class I molecules to form allo determinants recognised by monoclonal antibodies. These results demonstrate that altered synthetic peptides can bind class I MHC molecules and prompt caution in the use of synthetic peptides as a source of immunising antigen.