Fusion proteins constructed of a tumor-specific Ab joined to IL-2 (Ab-IL-2) have been used in the past to deliver cytokine directly to the site of tumor cells in vivo. These molecules mimic the activity of IL-2 and assist in activating and expanding antitumor effector cells. To enhance the cytolytic activity of CTL specific for peptide epitopes of the Her-2/neu tumor Ag presented by HLA-A*0201 molecules, a fusion protein was constructed consisting of a single chain Ab specific for Her-2/neu, linked to IL-2 (neu-Ab-IL-2). When added to a mixture of tumor cells and Her-2/neu-specific CTL, the protein was found to augment lysis of tumor cells. In addition, the hybrid molecule also promoted lysis of Her-2/neu expressing tumors by non-tumor-specific cloned T cell lines, including Th1 CD4 cells. Analysis of the mechanism of cytotoxicity revealed that the fusion protein mediates the formation of stable conjugates between T cells expressing IL-2R and tumor cells expressing Her-2/neu, resulting in lysis through the Fas-Fas ligand pathway. Lysis induction was independent of specific engagement by the TCR. When tested for its ability to enhance tumor cell eradication by Her-2/neu-specific CD8+ T cells in an adoptive transfer model in SCID mice, neu-Ab-IL-2 facilitated the elimination of tumor cells in vivo. Surprisingly, the combination of non-tumor-specific CD8+ T cells and fusion protein also induced a significant delay of tumor growth. This represents a novel approach for redirecting non-tumor-specific T cells to eliminate tumors.