4-1BB is expressed on activated T cells. We analyzed the role of 4-1BB during the CD8 T cell response of OT-I TCR-transgenic T cells to ovalbumin. In vitro, blocking 4-1BB during peptide presentation reduced proliferation of naive CD8 T cells, but did not affect the generation of CTL. Using an in vivo adoptive transfer model, clonal expansion of CD8 T cells to whole protein in adjuvant was significantly reduced when 4-1BB was blocked, with 50-70% fewer CD8 T cells accumulating. This was due to a reduction in T cell division and to enhanced apoptosis of CD8 T cells that had undergone many divisions. T cells generated in the absence of 4-1BB were impaired in their ability to secrete IFN-gamma whereas CTL activity of the T cells that survived was unaffected. These findings demonstrate that 4-1BB contributes to clonal expansion, survival, and development of Tc1 cells when protein antigen is encountered by primary CD8 T cells in an inflammatory environment in vivo.