CD27 is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor superfamily and is expressed on T, B, and NK cells. The signal via CD27 plays pivotal roles in T-T and T-B cell interactions. Here we demonstrate that overexpression of CD27 activates NF-kappaB and stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK)/c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Deletion analysis of the cytoplasmic domain of CD27 revealed that the C-terminal PIQEDYR motif was indispensable for both NF-kappaB and SAPK/JNK activation and was also required for the interaction with TNF receptor-associated factor (TRAF) 2 and TRAF5, both of which have been implicated in NF-kappaB activation by members of the TNF-R superfamily. Co-transfection of a dominant negative TRAF2 or TRAF5 blocked NF-kappaB and SAPK/JNK activation induced by CD27. Recently, a TRAF2-interacting kinase has been identified, termed NF-kappaB-inducing kinase (NIK). A kinase-inactive mutant NIK blocked CD27-, TRAF2-, and TRAF5-mediated NF-kappaB and SAPK/JNK activation. These results indicate that TRAF2 and TRAF5 are involved in NF-kappaB and SAPK/JNK activation by CD27, and NIK is a common downstream kinase of TRAF2 and TRAF5 for NF-kappaB and SAPK/JNK activation.