A novel cytokine originally designated murine CTLA-8 was described as a cDNA isolated from an activated T cell hybridoma produced by fusing a mouse cytotoxic T cell clone and a rat T lymphoma. This cDNA, which contains mRNA instability sequences characteristic of many cytokines, encoded a putative secreted protein that was homologous to the ORF13 gene of Herpesvirus saimiri. The human homolog to this molecule has recently been identified as the proinflammatory cytokine IL-17. We describe the isolation of a cDNA encoding mouse IL-17 from a cDNA library generated from alpha beta TCR + CD4-CD8- thymocytes using a subtraction technique that enriched for activation specific genes. This cDNA shares 87.3% amino acid identity to the previously described murine CTLA-8. Comparison of murine CTLA-8 to a cDNA we isolated from activated rat splenocytes revealed that murine CTLA-8 is, in fact, the rat homolog of IL-17. Mouse IL-17 mRNA is specifically expressed by activated alpha beta TCR + CD4-CD8- T cells, a small subset with a potentially important role in immune regulation. Mouse, rat, and human IL-17 can induce IL-6 secretion in mouse stromal cells, indicating that all homologs can recognize the mouse receptor.