CD27 molecules are shown to be essential in the regulation of the death, activation and differentiation of T and B cells. However, the influence of CD27 on cytotoxic T-cell function remains obscure. Autologous EBV transformed B-cell lines (LCL), which highly express CD27 ligand CD70, here stimulated T cells and induced the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) activity via T-cell antigen receptors (TCR). The cytotoxicity against LCL was diminished when anti-CD70 blocking MoAb was added initially in the culture. Resting T cells killed more CD70-transfected P815 cells than wild type P815 cells in the presence of anti-CD3 MoAb as measured by a 4-h 51Cr release assay, and the cytotoxicity of both of the cell populations completely disappeared in the presence of concanamycin A (CMA). The expression of the perforin by the LCL-induced CTL in the presence of anti-CD70 blocking MoAb was diminished as compared with that without the blockage of CD27/CD70 interactions. The CTL induced by LCL did not kill Fas-transfected WR cells. CD27 signalling in the T cells did not affect Fas ligand (FasL) mRNA expression, LAK activity and IFN-gamma synthesis in humans. Our data demonstrate that CD27/CD70 interactions enhance the cytotoxicity of CTL in the induction phase through enhancement of killing activity induced via the perforin-dependent mechanism, but not via the Fas/FasL system.