The Ly-6 locus controls the expression and/or encodes for alloantigenic specificities found primarily on subpopulations of murine T and B lymphocytes. We have recently identified and characterized a new rat mAb, D7, that recognizes a nonpolymorphic Ly-6 specificity. After crosslinking by anti-Ig reagents or by Fc receptor-bearing accessory cells, mAb D7 could induce IL-2 production from T cell hybridomas, and in the presence of PMA could trigger a vigorous proliferative response in resting peripheral T cells. The addition of mAb D7 to cultures of antigen- and alloantigen-, but not mitogen-stimulated T cells resulted in a marked augmentation of the proliferative response. A number of other well-characterized mAbs to Ly-6 locus products could also stimulate a T cell proliferative response after crosslinking by anti-Ig and in the presence of PMA. These results strongly suggest that Ly-6 molecules may play a critical role in the T cell activation cascade, either as receptors for an unidentified soluble or cell-associated ligand or as transducing molecules that modulate signals initiated by antigen stimulation of the T3-Ti complex.