The protein tyrosine kinase Fyn has been shown to be involved in signal transduction through the TCR and the glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol-linked surface molecule Thy-1 expressed on T cells. In this study, we examine the requirement for Fyn expression in signaling through the TCR or Thy-1 using a panel of Ag-specific T cell clones derived from fyn-/- mutant mice. These clones do not express normal Fyn protein, as measured by immune-complex kinase reaction using anti-Fyn Ab. Stimulation through the TCR, either by APC bearing relevant Ag or by immobilized anti-CD3 mAb, resulted in comparable levels of proliferation, lymphokine production, and cytolysis by clones from both wild-type and fyn-/- mice. In contrast, stimulation through Thy-1, using soluble (or cross-linked) anti-Thy-1 mAb, was deficient, as measured by these responses. Thus, Fyn expression is selectively required for functional activation through Thy-1 in these T cell clones.