The importance of each of the two interferon (IFN) systems in impeding herpesvirus replication and in stimulating virus-specific lymphocytes to control an acute systemic infection is not completely understood. To further our knowledge, pseudorabies virus, attenuated by deletion of the glycoprotein E gene to impair its neurovirulence and by deletion of the thymidine kinase gene (gE-TK-PRV), was used to infect wild-type 129Sv/Ev and congenic mice with immune system-associated genetic deficiencies. Mice with mature B and T lymphocytes but lacking either one or both functional receptors for members of each of the two IFN families were infected with gE-TK-PRV. At 3 and 7 but not 14 days after infection, replicating gE-TK-PRV could be isolated only from livers or spleens of mice lacking the receptors for both IFN families, and these mice survived the infection. Therefore, functional IFN receptors were not required to induce a protective immune response against an acute infection with gE-TK-PRV. Furthermore, PRV-specific antibodies of all immunoglobulin G isotypes were produced in these mice. Mice without mature B and T lymphocytes and lacking either one or both functional receptors for members of each of the two IFN families were also infected with gE-TK-PRV. Three days after infection, replicating virus could be isolated only from mice lacking both mature B and T lymphocytes and functional IFN receptors, and these mice were not able to clear the virus. We present evidence that mice with an intact gamma IFN system but without mature B and T cells were able to prevent systemic dissemination of gE-TK-PRV.