Accessory molecule interactions can be critical in determining the outcome of a T cell's encounter with antigen. Cell adhesion proteins may augment T cell responses by facilitating TCR engagement of the antigen-MHC complex, while co-stimulatory molecules may deliver distinct signals that modulate T cell responsiveness. CD43 (leukosialin, sialophorin) has been suggested to influence cell activation by steric hindrance based upon the large size and glycosylation of the protein, as well as the relative abundance of the protein on the cell surface. In this paper we examine both in vitro and in vivo T cell-dependent responses in CD43-deficient mice. We demonstrate that T cells from CD43-deficient mice are hyper-responsive following both in vivo and in vitro activation, and that this is observed in response to not only TCR-CD3-mediated stimulation, but also following receptor-independent activation. This data suggests that mechanisms other than non-specific steric hindrance are important in the regulation of T cell activation by CD43.