The integrin alpha4beta7 mediates lymphocyte binding to mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule-1, and its expression defines lymphocytes capable of trafficking through the intestines and the intestinal lymphoid tissues. We examined the ability of discrete alpha4beta7(hi) and alpha4beta7- subsets of circulating memory phenotype (CD45RA-) CD4+ T cells to proliferate in response to rotavirus, a ubiquitous intestinal pathogen. alpha4beta7(hi) memory (CD45RA-) CD4+ T cells displayed much greater reactivity to rotavirus than alpha4beta7- memory or naive (CD45RA+) CD4+ T cells. In contrast, alpha4beta7- memory cells were the predominant population responsive to mumps antigen after intramuscular vaccination. Our results are consistent with the conclusion that natural rotavirus infection, an enteric pathogen, results in a specific circulating memory CD4+ response that is largely limited to the gut-homing alpha4beta7+ subpopulation. This phenotype is not shared with memory cells elicited by intramuscular immunization (shown here) or by skin contact allergens. The results support the hypothesis that gut trafficking memory CD4+ T cells comprise cellular memory for intestinal antigens and suggest that regulated expression of alpha4beta7 helps target and segregate intestinal versus systemic immune response.