Resistance to intraperitoneal murine coronavirus JHM infection in mice develops with age. C3H mice were found to be fully susceptible up to the age of 20 days and resistant after 23 days of age. Protection of susceptible animals from death due to infection could be achieved by maternal antibodies or by transfer of spleen cells from immunized, but not from nonimmunized, donor mice. Lack of protection by transfer of unprimed adult spleen cells was not related to immunosuppression by the host. Moreover, resistance of adult mice could not be abrogated by application of lymphocytes from suckling mice, although immune suppression by other means did affect the resistance of adult animals. On the other hand, spleen cells from nonimmunized mice could be primed with inactivated JHM virus in suckling mice and protected these mice from death due to a subsequent virus infection. Thus, the outcome of infection with JHM virus in suckling and adult mice can be influenced by immunological events, but is not exclusively due to the different stages of immune competence.