A syngeneic monoclonal antiidiotypic antibody was generated in BALB/c mice after repeated immunization with a BALB/c monoclonal anti-reovirus hemagglutinin (HA) antibody. The resultant syngeneic monoclonal antiidiotypic antibody, in the absence of adjuvant, was found to be capable of priming both BALB/c (H-2d, Igh-1a) and C3H/Hej (H-2k, Igh-1j) mice for Lyt-1+- and Lyt-2+-dependent responses against the mammalian reovirus. By the use of intertypic reassortants and variant virus analysis, the specificity of the response was finely mapped to the neutralization domain of the viral hemagglutinin (HA). Using purified monoclonal antiidiotype, we were able to compare the potency of antiidiotype to virus in terms of induction of immunity. 8 X 10(8) protein molecules were able to prime for cellular responses to reovirus. These studies indicate that in the reovirus system, T cells and B cells share idiotypic configurations, and that antiidiotypic antibodies of the type described herein may be useful in the development of vaccines against certain viral infections.