A T cell line termed DIL2 has been derived from an infant with a polyclonal T cell receptor (TCR)/CD3 cell surface expression defect. Indirect immunofluorescence showed that the expression of certain TCR/CD3 epitopes (like those detected by WT31 and BMA031 monoclonals) was strongly reduced (around five-fold) on DIL2, whereas other epitopes (like those detected by SP34 and Leu4) were only around two-fold lower than in normal T cell lines. Specific immunoprecipitates of surface-radioiodinated DIL2 cells contained TCR-alpha, TCR-beta, CD3-delta, CD3-epsilon and TCR-zeta chains, but lacked CD3-gamma. This structural TCR/CD3 variant was, however, capable of transducing certain activation signals, since normal proliferation and a low but significant calcium flux was observed in DIL2 cells after engagement with specific antibodies. Our data suggest that a functional TCR/CD3 complex can be expressed on the surface of T cells in the absence of CD3-gamma.