To study the T cell responses induced by native and modified Ag, we have followed in vivo TCR selection and cytokine profile of T cells, as well as the isotype of induced Abs, in response to the model Ag hen egg-white lysozyme (HEL) and its reduced and carboxymethylated form (RCM-HEL). RCM-HEL induces in vivo a T cell response focused on the same immunodominant determinant characterizing the response to native HEL, but further skewed to the Th1 pathway. No difference between HEL and RCM-HEL could be observed in the efficiency of processing, nor in the type of APCs involved. In vivo experiments show that coimmunization with HEL and RCM-HEL generates distinct Th2 or Th1 responses in naive mice, but the two forms of Ag expand the same HEL-specific public clonotype, characterized by the Vbeta8.2-Jbeta1.5 rearrangement, indicating that the populations of naive T cells activated by the two Ag forms overlap. T cells primed by RCM-HEL are restimulated by soluble HEL in vivo, but divert the phenotype of the HEL-specific response to Th1, implying that priming of naive T cells by a structurally modified Ag can induce Th1-type memory/effector T cells more efficiently than native Ag.