ABSTRACT: Continuously growing cell lines infected with the protozoan parasite Theileria annulata can readily be established by in vitro infection of leukocytes with the sporozoite stage of the parasite. The aim of the current study was to determine whether such transformed cell lines could be used as antigen presenting cells to analyse the antigenic specificity of bovine CD8 T cell responses to viral infections. Bovine herpes virus 1 (BHV-1), which is known to induce CD8 T cell responses, was used as a model. T. annulata- transformed cells were shown to express high levels of CD40 and CD80 and were susceptible to infection with BHV-1, vaccinia and canarypox viruses. The capacity of the cells to generate antigen-specific CD8 T cell lines was initially validated using a recombinant canarypox virus expressing a defined immunodominant T. parva antigen (Tp1). Autologous T. annulata-transformed cells infected with BHV-1 were then used successfully to generate specific CD8 T cell lines and clones from memory T cell populations of BHV-1-immune animals. These lines were BHV-1-specific and class I MHC-restricted. In contrast to previous studies, which reported recognition of the glycoproteins gB and gD, the CD8 T cell lines generated in this study did not recognise these glycoproteins. Given the ease with which T. annulata-transformed cell lines can be established and maintained in vitro and their susceptibility to infection with poxvirus vectors, these cell lines offer a convenient and efficient in vitro system to analyse the fine specificity of virus-specific CD8 T cell responses in cattle.