The lifelong persistence of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) in neonatally or congenitally infected mice is accompanied by a suppression of virus-specific T-cell responses. In this study, we identified the subset of T cells infected with LCMV during persistent infection in vivo. Using specific monoclonal antibodies to separate the different lymphocyte cell populations and employing both an infectious center assay and immunofluorescence to detect the virus, we found that infection is confined primarily to T cells of the helper subset (L3T4+ Lyt2-), with minimal involvement of cytotoxic T cells (Lyt2+ L3T4-) and mature B cells. About 0.54 to 1.1% of L3T4+ T cells were producing the virus, as determined by the infectious center assay. In contrast, 9.1 to 12.2% of these L3T4+ T cells contained viral antigen, as shown by immunofluorescence studies. This finding suggested that, at any given time, a substantial number of infected T cells were not producing infectious virus. This infection of T helper cells may be involved in the suppression of LCMV-specific T-cell responses observed in persistently infected mice.