Engagement of the TCR on CD4+CD8+ thymocytes initiates either a program of survival and differentiation (positive selection) or death (clonal deletion), which is dictated in large part by the affinity of the TCR for self-peptide-MHC complexes. Although much is known about the factors involved in positive selection, little is understood about the molecular mechanism leading to clonal deletion. To gain further insight into this process, we used a highly physiological TCR transgenic mouse model to compare gene expression changes under conditions of nonselection, positive selection, and negative selection. We identified 388 genes that were differentially regulated in negative selection compared with either nonselection or positive selection. These regulated genes fall into many functional categories including cell surface and intracellular signal transduction, survival and apoptosis, transcription and translation, and adhesion and migration. Additionally, we have compared our transcriptional profile to profiles of negative selection in other model systems in an effort to identify those genes with a higher probability of being functionally relevant. These included three up-regulated genes, bim, nur77, and ian1, and one down-regulated gene, lip1. Collectively, these data provide a framework for understanding the molecular basis of clonal deletion.