Co-stimulation provided by the B7 family of proteins underpins the development of protective immunity. There are three identified members of this family: CD80, its splice variant IgV-CD80 and CD86. It has hitherto been difficult to analyze the expression and function of IgV-CD80 since there are no appropriate reagents capable of distinguishing it from CD80. We have generated mice, by gene targeting, the lack CD80 whilst maintaining expression of IgV-CD80. Mutant animals did not delete T cells bearing mammary tumor virus-reactive TCR as efficiently as wild-type animals. We also demonstrate the importance of IgV-CD80 in the responses of recently activated cells and reveal a role for CD80 in sustaining T cell responses. CD86, whilst critical to primary T cell activation, made only a minor contribution to re-activation of normal cells.