The impact of prophylactic vaccination against acute and chronic infection in a Th-deficient host has not been adequately addressed because of difficulties in generating protective immunity in the absence of CD4(+) T cell help. In this study, we demonstrated that a broad CD8(+) T cell immune response could be elicited in MHC class II-deficient mice by vaccination with adenovirus encoding lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) glycoprotein tethered to MHC class II-associated invariant chain. Moreover, the response induced conferred significant cytolytic CD8(+) T cell-mediated protection against challenge with a high dose of the invasive clone 13 strain of LCMV. In contrast, vaccination with adenovirus encoding unlinked LCMV glycoprotein induced weak virus control in the absence of CD4(+) T cells, and mice may die of increased immunopathology associated with incomplete protection. Acute mortality was not observed in any vaccinated mice following infection with the less-invasive Traub strain. However, LCMV Traub infection caused accelerated late mortality in unvaccinated MHC class II-deficient mice; in this case, we observed a strong trend toward delayed mortality in vaccinated mice, irrespective of the nature of the vaccine. These results indicated that optimized vaccination may lead to efficient protection against acute viral infection, even in Th-deficient individuals, but that the duration of such immunity is limited. Nevertheless, for select immunodeficiencies in which CD4(+) T cell deficiency is incomplete or transient, these results are very encouraging.