We have examined the requirements for activating unprimed T cells in vivo by transferring T cells into scid mice, which lack mature B and T cells. Purified adult thymocytes and a protein antigen, keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), were injected into scid mice. scid mice injected with T cells and KLH developed cellular lymph nodes containing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Cells recovered from the lymph nodes of injected scid mice proliferated and secreted interleukin 2 in response to KLH in vitro. The results indicate that T cells can be primed to KLH in the scid mouse in the absence of B cells.