The Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMK) type IV/Gr is selectively expressed in T lymphocytes and is activated after signaling via the T cell antigen receptor (TCR), indicating that it mediates some of the Ca(2+)-dependent transcriptional events that follow TCR engagement. Here we show that CaMKIV/Gr induces the transcription factor activation protein 1 (AP-1) alone or in synergy with T cell mitogens and with the p21ras oncoprotein. CaMKIV/ Gr signaling is associated with transcriptional activation of c-fos but is independent of p21ras or calcineurin. AP-1 is an integral component of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) transcriptional complex, which is required for interleukin 2 gene expression in T cells. We demonstrate that CaMKIV/Gr reconstitutes the capacity of the cytosolic component of NFAT to direct transcription from NFAT sites in non-T cells. These results reveal a central role for CaMKIV/Gr as a Ca(2+)-regulated activator of gene transcription in T lymphocytes.