Suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins regulate the intensity and duration of cytokine responses. SOCS3 is expressed in peripheral T cells, and recent reports have suggested that overexpression of SOCS3 modulates antigen- and/or costimulation-induced T-cell activation. To study the role of SOCS3 in the regulation of T-cell activation, we used a conditional gene-targeting strategy to generate mice that lack SOCS3 in T/natural killer T cells (Socs3(DeltaLck/DeltaLck) mice). SOCS3-deficient CD8 T cells showed greater proliferation than wild-type cells in response to T-cell receptor (TCR) ligation despite normal activation of signaling pathways downstream from TCR or CD28 receptors. Signaling in response to the gp130 cytokines interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-27 was prolonged in Socs3(DeltaLck/DeltaLck) T cells, and T cells from gp130(Y757F/Y757F) mice, in which the SOCS3-binding site on gp130 is ablated, showed a striking similarity to SOCS3-deficient CD8 T cells. Although the proliferative defect of Socs3(DeltaLck/DeltaLck) T cells was not rescued in the absence of IL-6, suppression of IL-27 signaling was found to substantially reduce anti-CD3-induced proliferation. We conclude that enhanced responses to TCR ligation by SOCS3-deficient CD8 T cells are not caused by aberrant TCR-signaling pathways but, rather, that increased IL-27 signaling drives unregulated proliferation in the absence of SOCS3.