Protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) play an integral role in T cell activation and differentiation. Defects in the Src-family PTKs in mice and in T cell lines have resulted in variable defects in thymic development and in T cell antigen receptor (TCR) signal transduction. Here, three siblings are described with an autosomal recessive form of severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID) in which ZAP-70, a non-Src PTK, is absent as a result of mutations in the ZAP-70 gene. This absence is associated with defects in TCR signal transduction, suggesting an important functional role for ZAP-70.