Bystander activation of T cells, i.e. the stimulation of unrelated (heterologous) T cells by cytokines during an Ag-specific T-cell response, has been best described for CD8(+) T cells. In the CD8(+) compartment, the release of IFN and IFN-inducers leads to the production of IL-15, which mediates the proliferation of CD8(+) T cells, notably memory-phenotype CD8(+) T cells. CD4(+) T cells also undergo bystander activation, however, the signals inducing this Ag-nonspecific stimulation of CD4(+) T cells are less well known. A study in this issue of the European Journal of Immunology sheds light on this aspect, suggesting that common gamma-chain cytokines including IL-2 might be involved in bystander activation of CD4(+) T cells.