We have investigated mitotic cell cycle and growth phase regulation of homogeneous cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL). Two independently derived CTL clones were stained with the DNA-binding dye Hoechst 33342, sorted in a fluorescence-activated cell sorter according to their position in the cell cycle, and then assayed for specific lytic activity using a short-term (30 min) (51)Cr release assay. Results show that lytic activity remained unchanged throughout the cell cycle. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in the lytic activity of CTL clones growing exponentially or arrested in a plateau phase. These results demonstrate that T cell-mediated cytolysis is independent of growth phase and position in the cell cycle.