B7 delivers a costimulatory signal through CD28, resulting in interleukin-2 secretion and T cell proliferation. Blockade of this pathway results in T cell anergy. The in vivo role of B7 was evaluated with B7-deficient mice. These mice had a 70 percent decrease in costimulation of the response to alloantigen. Despite lacking B7 expression, activated B cells from these mice bound CTLA-4 and GL1 monoclonal antibody, demonstrating that alternative CTLA-4 ligand or ligands exist. These receptors are functionally important because the residual allogenic mixed lymphocyte responses were blocked by CTLA4Ig. Characterization of these CTLA-4 ligands should lead to strategies for manipulating the immune response.