The T cell costimulatory molecule CD28 plays an important role in the thymic generation of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) essential for the maintenance of self-tolerance. In this study, we show that a cell-intrinsic signal from CD28 is involved in the generation of cytokine-responsive Foxp3 - precursors using studies of mixed bone marrow chimeras as well as TCR-specific generation of Foxp3+ cells using intrathymic transfer of TCR-transgenic thymocytes expressing a natural Treg TCR. Contrary to a previous report, the analysis of CD28 mutant knockin mice revealed that this cell-intrinsic signal is only partially dependent on the Lck-binding PYAP motif. Surprisingly, even though the absence of CD28 resulted in a 6-fold decrease in thymic Tregs, the TCR repertoires of CD28-deficient and sufficient cells were largely overlapping. Thus, these data suggest that CD28 does not operate by markedly enlarging the repertoire of TCRs available for Treg development, but rather by improving the efficiency of Treg development of thymocytes expressing natural Treg TCRs.