As memory CD8 T cells form during acute viral infection, several changes in gene expression and function occur, but little is known about the control of this process. It was reported previously that the homodimer CD8alphaalpha was involved in generating IL-7Ralphahigh memory CD8 T cell precursors, and consequently, protective memory CD8 T cells did not form in animals significantly impaired in CD8alphaalpha expression (E8(I)-/- mice). However, the precise contribution of CD8alphaalpha to sustained IL-7Ralpha expression and other memory CD8 T cell-associated changes has not been investigated. We found that IL-7Ralpha expression and generation of memory CD8 T cells that protect against secondary viral infection was considerably normal in E8(I)-/- animals. Interestingly, virus-specific CD4 T cell responses were elevated, and the relative surface levels of CD8alphabeta in activated T cells were reduced in E8(I)-/- mice compared with wild-type animals. Our results indicate that memory CD8 T cell development can occur independently of CD8alphaalpha.