Autocrine interaction of Fas and Fas ligand leads to apoptosis of activated T cells, a process that is critical for the maintenance of peripheral T cell tolerance. Paracrine interactions of Fas ligand with T cells also may play an important role in the maintenance of tolerance, as Fas ligand can create immune-privileged sites and prevent graft rejection by inducing apoptosis in T cells. We surmised that APCs that express Fas ligand might directly induce apoptosis of T cells during presentation of Ag to the T cells, thus inducing Ag-specific, systemic T cell tolerance. Here we show that profound, specific T cell unresponsiveness to alloantigen was induced by treatment of H-2(k) mice with H-2b APCs that expressed Fas ligand and that profound T cell unresponsiveness specific for the H-Y Ag was induced by treatment of H-2Db/H-Y TCR transgenic female mice with H-2Db/H-Y APCs that expressed Fas ligand. The induction of this systemic T cell tolerance required the expression of Fas ligand on the APCs as well as the expression of Fas on the T cells. The tolerance was restricted to the Ag presented by the APCs. The rapid and profound clonal deletion of the Ag-specific, peripheral T cells mediated by the Fas ligand-expressing APCs contributed to the induction of tolerance. These findings demonstrate that Ag-specific T cell tolerance can be induced by APCs that express Fas ligand and suggest a novel function for APCs in the induction of T cell apoptosis. Furthermore, they indicate a novel immunointervention strategy for treatment of graft rejection and autoantigen-specific autoimmune diseases.