Antigen receptor engagement on T lymphocytes activates transcription factors important for stimulating cytokine gene expression. This is critical for clonal expansion of antigen-specific T cells and propagation of immune responses. Additionally, under some conditions antigen receptor stimulation initiates apoptosis of T lymphocytes through the induced expression of CD95 ligand and its receptor. Here we demonstrate that the transcription factor, NFAT, which is critical for the inducible expression of many cytokine genes, also plays a critical role in the regulation oft cell receptor-mediated CD95 ligand expression. Two sites within the CD95 ligand promoter, identified through DNase I footprinting, bind NFAT proteins from nuclear extracts of activated T cells. Although both sites appear important for optimal expression of CD95 ligand in activated T cells, mutational analysis suggests that the distal NFAT site plays a more significant role. Furthermore, these sites do not appear to be required for constitutive CD95 ligand expression in Sertoli cells.