CD30 ligand (CD30L) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) are members of the TNF-superfamily that have many important biological activities in cell proliferation and apoptotic death. In this study, both genes in the chicken were cloned and their expression was analyzed. Complementary DNA fragments were obtained from a suppressive subtractive hybridization library with or without lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulation. Chicken CD30L consists of 1,152 base pairs (bp) with an open reading frame (ORF) of 720 bp having 36.4% identity with human CD30L, whereas chicken TRAIL is 1,134 bp long with an ORF of 912 bp having 54.4% identity with human TRAIL. Chicken CD30L was expressed at high levels in the spleen, bursa of Fabricius and in the chicken monocytic leukemia cell line, IN24. Stimulation with LPS in the spleen, bursa of Fabricius and the IN24 cell line did not affect CD30L expression. The gene expression of chicken TRAIL was essentially to the same level in all tissues examined. The time course of expression was not significantly altered by LPS-stimulation in the spleen, thymus and bursa of Fabricius, but reached a maximal level 8 hr after stimulation in the IN24 cell line. The high level expression of both genes in lymphoid organs and IN24 cell line indicates that chicken CD30L and TRAIL may also play an important role in apoptotic signal transduction and the regulation of cell proliferation in the immune system.