Two families of tyrosine kinases, the Src and Syk families, are required for T-cell receptor activation. While the Src kinases are responsible for phosphorylation of receptor-encoded signaling motifs and for up-regulation of ZAP-70 activity, the downstream substrates of ZAP-70 are unknown. Evidence is presented herein that the Src homology 2 (SH2) domain-containing leukocyte protein of 76 kDa (SLP-76) is a substrate of ZAP-70. Phosphorylation of SLP- 76 is diminished in T cells that express a catalytically inactive ZAP-70. Moreover, SLP-76 is preferentially phosphorylated by ZAP-70 in vitro and in heterologous cellular systems. In T cells, overexpression of wild-type SLP-76 results in a hyperactive receptor, while expression of a SLP-76 molecule that is unable to be tyrosine-phosphorylated attenuates receptor function. In addition, the SH2 domain of SLP-76 is required for T-cell receptor function, although its role is independent of the ability of SLP-76 to undergo tyrosine phosphorylation. As SLP-76 interacts with both Grb2 and phospholipase C-γ1, these data indicate that phosphorylation of SLP-76 by ZAP-70 provides an important functional link between the T-cell receptor and activation of ras and calcium pathways.