The spectrum of TCR V beta usage is compared for primary and recall CD8(+)D(b)PA(224)(+) T cell responses in mice with influenza pneumonia. Single-cell RT-PCR established that the same clonotypes were present in the lymphoid tissue and in the virus-infected lung. Longitudinal analysis indicated that the memory TCR repertoire reflects the primary response, with no decrease in diversity prior to (or after) secondary challenge. The re-engagement of memory T cells looked to be stochastic in this localized, transient infection. Analysis of clonotypes from the blood, spleen, regional lymph nodes, bone marrow, lung, and liver over a 200 day interval showed no evidence of selective localization or loss. The long-term distribution of memory T cells seemed to be essentially random.