Phospholipase C (PLC) isozymes are key signaling proteins downstream of many extracellular stimuli. Here we show that naive human T cells had very low expression of PLC-gamma1 and that this correlated with low T cell antigen receptor (TCR) responsiveness in naive T cells. However, TCR triggering led to an upregulation of approximately 75-fold in PLC-gamma1 expression, which correlated with greater TCR responsiveness. Induction of PLC-gamma1 was dependent on vitamin D and expression of the vitamin D receptor (VDR). Naive T cells did not express VDR, but VDR expression was induced by TCR signaling via the alternative mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 pathway. Thus, initial TCR signaling via p38 leads to successive induction of VDR and PLC-gamma1, which are required for subsequent classical TCR signaling and T cell activation.