Abstract The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of T-lymphocytes and phytohemagglutinin (PHA), a T-cell mitogen, on the expression of bovine leukemia virus (BLV) in cultured B-lymphocytes from BLV-infected cattle and sheep. Bovine B-lymphocytes were isolated by negative selection via complement-mediated lysis of T-lymphocytes. Additionally, bovine and ovine B-lymphocytes were positively selected using fluorescence activated cell sorting. Expression of BLV in cultured bovine and ovine B-lymphocytes occurred in the absence of T-lymphocytes and without PHA stimulation. The results of this study demonstrate that BLV replication in cultured B-lymphocytes is T-cell independent. This finding may have implications for the mechanism of viral latency within infected B-lymphocytes.