The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor family comprises a number of type I integral membrane glycoproteins which exhibit sequence homology in their cysteine-rich extracellular domains. Recently, ligands for many of these receptors have been identified. These molecules all display sequence identity with TNF and lymphotoxin beta, prototype ligands for this receptor family, and have the conformation of type II transmembrane molecules. While certain biological activities are common to many members of this TNF-like family, other activities appear to be shared only by some ligands, or are unique. The identification of the TNF superfamily of ligands has provided the opportunity to compare and contrast the diverse biological effects mediated through the interaction of these related molecules with their receptors.