Fas/APO-1(CD95) ligation activates programmed cell death, a cellular process that plays an important role in the maturation of the host immune response. We show that activation of a specific MAP kinase kinase (MKK), MKK6b, is necessary and sufficient for Fas-induced apoptosis of Jurkat T cells. MKK6b activation occurs downstream of an interleukin-1 converting enzyme-like (ICE-like) protease(s), while execution of the apoptotic pathway by MKK6b requires both ICE- and CPP32-like proteases. Surprisingly, the p38 MAP kinase protein, a known substrate of MKK6b, does not participate in Fas/MKK6b-mediated apoptosis. These findings indicate a divergence of the MKK6b signaling pathways, one of which activates p38 and leads to regulation of gene expression, and one of which activates the ICE/Ced-3 family of proteases and leads to cell death. These studies represent a demonstration of an apoptotic pathway that is comprised of both the ICE/Ced-3 family of proteases and MAP kinase kinase 6.