Melittin, a 26-residue bee venom peptide, is known to induce murine Abs specific for its hydrophilic C-terminus of residues 20-26 and T cell responses specific for its hydrophobic mid-region of residue 11-19. Synthetic melittin analogues with transposed sequences of Ac(21-26) (1-20) and Ac(26-21) (1-20) are found to induce murine Abs specific for the transposed peptide segment and to induce T cell responses that are cross-reactive with melittin. Compared with melittin, the transposed melittin analogues are weaker immunogens and have lower hemolytic activities, lower helical contents, and a lower degree of association in micelles. A melittin analogue with a lactoside group at its C-terminus was found to induce lactoside-specific murine Abs. Present studies show that another analogue with a lactoside group at its N-terminus induces only Abs specific for the C-terminal region of melittin, and no lactoside-specific Abs are detected. These immunochemical observations suggest that the immunogenicity of melittin or its analogues is a consequence of its binding to cell membranes with subsequent oligomer formation in lipid bilayers. Apparently melittin or its analogues bind to cell membrane in an asymmetric manner with the exposed and the buried segments functioning as B and T cell epitopes, respectively. D-melittin is non-immunogenic in mice, although D-melittin has the same hemolytic activity as melittin. This finding may be correlated with the known resistance of D-melittin to proteolysis and hence to processing for Ag presentation to T lymphocytes.