Theileria infection of bovine leucocytes induces uncontrolled proliferation and a transformed phenotype comparable to tumour cells. Infected cells have many characteristics of activated leucocytes and use autocrine loops to augment proliferation. We have shown previously that, in infected B cells, PI3-K controls a granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) autocrine loop to increase both proliferation and activation of the activator protein 1 (AP-1) transcription factor. We show here that the same infected B cells also use a tumour necrosis factor (TNF) alpha autocrine loop that again contributes to proliferation and augments nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB activation. Interestingly, both pharmacological inhibition of TNF synthesis and neutralizing anti-TNF antibodies lead to a reduction in proliferation and a 50% drop in NF-kappaB activation, without inducing apoptosis.