A chimeric receptor, consisting of the single-chain variable (scFv) domains of an anti-erbB-2 mAb linked via a CD8 membrane-proximal hinge to the Fc receptor gamma chain, was expressed in the mouse cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) hybridoma cell line, MD45. This cell line was grafted with the additional specificity to recognise and bind erbB-2-expressing breast carcinoma target cells T47D, MCF-7 and BT-20 in a non-MHC-restricted manner. Tumour cell lysis was antigen-specific since erbB-2-negative tumours were insensitive to lysis by MD45-scFv-anti-erbB-2-gamma clones, and lysis of erbB-2+ tumour targets was inhibited in the presence of an anti-erbB-2 mAb. Furthermore, target cell death correlated with the level of chimeric receptor expression on the effector MD45 subclones. Redirected MD45 CTL utilised Fas ligand to induce target cell death since soluble Fas-Fc fusion protein completely inhibited cytolysis. The sensitivity of tumour target cells to Fas ligand was further enhanced by treating them with interferon-gamma, a regulator of Fas and downstream signalling components of the Fas pathway. Overall, this study has demonstrated the requirement for successful activation of Fas ligand function in conjunction with cytokine treatment for effective lysis of breast carcinoma target cells mediated by redirected CTL.