We have previously reported that a subset of T cells in T cell receptor (TCR)-transgenic mice may express two different alpha chains on their surface. The expression of two functional alpha chains has also been demonstrated for human peripheral blood T cells. In this report, we show that a proportion of normal murine lymph node T cells express two functional alpha chains on their surface. The extrapolated frequency of these cells present in the normal repertoire ranges from 7-21%, with an average of 15%. Our analysis of a small number of antigen-specific T cell clones suggests that the frequency of antigen-responsive cells expressing two surface alpha chains is relatively low. This raises the possibility that dual alpha chain T cells may have a selective disadvantage in responding to specific antigen.