The CD8 T cell response to vesicular stomatitis virus infection was characterized in the spleen and intestinal mucosa using MHC tetramers. Surprisingly, the primary response persisted in the lamina propria long after the splenic response had declined. Furthermore, the response was characterized by a protracted effector phase in which cytolytic activity in the lamina propria, but not in the spleen, was maintained. The appearance of Ag-specific cells in the intestinal mucosa was largely, though not exclusively, a result of β7 integrin-mediated migration. Infection with Listeria monocytogenes or with vaccinia virus also led to sustained mucosal responses. After reinfection of vesicular stomatitis virus-primed mice with a serotypically distinct virus, a sustained recall response was detected in all tissues. In CD40-/- mice, the mucosal, but not the splenic, response was compromised, resulting in diminished mucosal memory. The recall response was CD40 independent and correlated with memory levels, indicating that the mucosal and systemic responses operated independently. These findings illustrated the integrated yet distinct nature of systemic vs mucosal immune responses.