Helper T cell lines specific for influenza virus were established by continuous culture of Mem 71-Bel (H3) virus-immune spleen cells in the presence of virus and antigen-presenting cells and their specificity assessed in proliferation experiments. At line stimulated in vitro with Mem 71-Bel virus was able to proliferate in response to viruses of the same, and also of different, type A haemagglutinin (HA) subtypes as the immunizing virus but not to a type B influenza virus. A component of this cross-reactivity was due to recognition of the HA molecule. Lines stimulated in vitro with purified disrupted H3 or H2 viruses showed a higher degree of cross-reactivity. Of nine clones isolated from these lines, seven were directed against the HA molecule and recognized the HA1 chain. The HA-specific T cell clones were either subtype-specific, recognizing only viruses of the H3 subtype, or cross-reactive, also recognizing viruses of the H2 subtype of type A (but not type B). Subtype-specific and cross-reactive T cell clones were shown to function as helper T cells in vitro. In addition to collaborating with H3 virus-primed B cells responding to H3 virus in culture, the cross-reactive T cell clone could also provide help for H2 virus-primed B cells making anti-HA antibody in response to H2 virus. © 1985.