The ability of a human coreceptor to function in mice was investigated by generating human CD4 (hCD4)-expressing transgenic mice on a mouse CD4-deficient (mCD4-/-) background. From developing thymocyte to matured T lymphocyte functions, hCD4 was shown to be physiologically active. By examining the expansion and deletion of specific V beta T cell families in mutated mice with and without hCD4, it was found that hCD4 can participate in positive and negative selection. Mature hCD4 single positive cells also were found in the periphery and they were shown to restore MHC class II-restricted alloreactive and antigen-specific T cell responses that were deficient in the mCD4 (-/-) mice. In addition, these hCD4 reconstituted mice can generate a secondary immunoglobulin G humoral response matching that of mCD4 wild-type mice. The fact that human CD4 is functional in mice and can be studied in the absence of murine CD4 should facilitate studies of human CD4 activity in general and human immunodeficiency virus 1 gp120-mediated pathogenesis in acquired immune deficiency syndrome specifically.