T cell activation requires co-engagement of the TCR with accessory and costimulatory molecules. However, the exact mechanism of costimulatory function is unknown. Mice lacking CD2 or CD28 show only mild deficits, demonstrating that neither protein is essential for T cell activation. In this paper we have generated mice lacking both CD2 and CD28. T cells from the double-deficient mice have a profound defect in activation by soluble anti- CD3 Ab and Ag, yet remain responsive to immobilized anti-CD3. This suggests that CD2 and CD28 may function together to facilitate interactions of the T cell and APC, allowing for efficient signal transduction through the TCR.