Type 1 diabetes is a T cell-mediated autoimmune disease where a number of islet beta-cell target autoantigens have been characterized on the basis of reactivity with autoantibodies. Nevertheless, there remains uncertainty of the nature of another group of autoantigens associated with the secretory granule fraction of islet beta-cells that appear to be targeted predominantly by autoreactive T cells. We have previously characterized CD4+, HLA-DR-restricted T cell lines from new onset type 1 diabetic patients that are specific for the secretory granule fraction of rat tumour insulinoma, RIN. The T cell line from the first patient, HS, proliferates in response to crude microsomal membranes prepared from a recently established, pure human islet beta-cell line NES2Y. In addition, the HS line also responds to secretory granule fractions prepared from a murine tumour insulinoma grown in RIP-Tag mice, showing the recognition of species-conserved antigen(s) in beta-cells. Using partially matched antigen-presenting cells, the HS T cells and another line derived from a second patient, MR, were shown to be restricted by disease-associated DRB1*0101 and DRB1*0404 alleles, respectively. Neither the HS or MR T cell lines proliferate in response to a large panel of candidate islet cell antigens, including insulin, proinsulin, glutamic acid decarboxylase, the protein tyrosine phosphatase IA-2/phogrin, imogen-38, ICA69 or hsp60. Our data provide compelling evidence of the presence of a group of antigens associated with the secretory granule fraction of islet beta-cells recognized by the T cell lines, whose definition may contribute to our knowledge of disease induction as well as to diagnosis.