GATA-3 is expressed at higher levels in CD4 than in CD8 SP thymocytes. Here we show that upregulation of GATA-3 expression in DP thymocytes is triggered by TCR stimulation, and the extent of upregulation correlates with the strength of the TCR signal. Overexpression of GATA-3 or a partial GATA-3 agonist during positive selection inhibits CD8 SP cell development but is not sufficient to divert class I-restricted T cell precursors to the CD4 lineage. Conversely, expression of the GATA-3 antagonist ROG or of a GATA-3 siRNA hairpin markedly enhances development of CD8 SP cells and reduces CD4 SP development. We propose that GATA-3 contributes to linking the TCR signal strength to the differentiation program of CD4 and CD8 thymocytes.