Purified preparations of allergenic proteins from plants, and in particular from pollens, consist of multiple closely related isoforms. These isoforms are highly similar in their amino acid sequences, yet they display different properties with respect to antibody binding. In this study we report of differential potencies of cross-reacting tree pollen allergens and cloned isoforms of these allergens to activate allergen-specific T-lymphocyte clones (T-cell clones; TCC). Six TCC with specifity for Bet v 1, a representative tree pollen major allergen, were established from peripheral blood of five birch-pollen-allergic donors. All TCC displayed the helper-cell phenotype. Five TCC reacted with distinct epitopes present on natural (n) and on recombinant (r) Bet v 1. One TCC could not be stimulated with r Bet v 1, in spite of strong reactivity with purified natural Bet v 1. The TCC were tested in proliferation assays using purified n Bet v 1, n Cor a 1 (the homologous major allergen of hazel pollen), r Bet v 1, four recombinant isoforms of Cor a 1 and peptides representing corresponding T-cell stimulating regions (isoepitopes) on these proteins. The clones showed different patterns of reactivity in response to stimulation with the five recombinant molecules and the corresponding peptides. Certain exchanges of amino acids within stimulating peptides correlated with a lack of proliferation of the TCC tested. These findings are important with respect to the use of broadly cross-reactive recombinant allergens or allergen-derived peptides for immunotherapy of type I allergy.