The proliferation and survival of a B cell population is necessarily tightly controlled to prevent the arisal of malignancy or autoimmunity. The expansion or elimination of a B cell clone is determined through a complex interaction of the tumour necrosis factor receptor/nerve growth factor receptor family members CD40 and Fas, which are expressed on the B cell surface, with their respective physiological ligands (CD40L and FasL) expressed on the surface of CD4+ T cells. The regulation of B cell growth by signals transduced through CD40 and Fas contributes to the maintenance of peripheral tolerance and likely takes place and in the germinal centres (GC) of secondary lymphoid tissues. In this study, we investigate the relationship between the expression of Fas and B cell survival following engagement of CD40 and Fas in the Epstein-Barr virus-genome-negative Ramos-Burkitt lymphoma (Ramos-BL) B cell line model of GC B lymphocyte selection during maturation of the humoral immune response. We now present evidence that Ramos-BL B cells constitutively express both Fas and FasL on their surface and that expression of Fas, but not FasL, is enhanced following ligation of CD40. Coligation of CD40 and Fas, triggers for growth inhibition, activation of the interleukin-1 beta-converting enzyme, now caspase, family member CPP32 (caspase-3) but not Ich-1L (caspase-2), cleavage of its death substrate poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, and apoptosis from the G1 phase of cell cycle; engagement of Fas alone fails to trigger for growth inhibition and apoptosis but enhances AgR-mediated cellular death. This CD40-potentiated Fas-triggered growth inhibition and apoptosis occurs in the presence of CD40-induced expression of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-xL and Bcl-2. Taken together, these data indicate that ligation of CD40 facilitates efficient coupling of Fas to the caspase-mediated pathway of apoptosis.