Following activation in the periphery, murine CD8+ T cells exhibit a characteristic increased binding of peanut agglutinin (PNA), reflecting an increased expression of hyposialylated O-linked glycans (Galbeta1-3GalNAcalpha-O-Thr/Ser) on the cell surface. In this report, we show that the majority of the PNA receptors expressed on activated CD8+ T cells are carried by CD45. Other glycoproteins (e.g. CD8) and the glycolipid asialo-GM1 also carry PNA receptors, although to a much lesser extent. Analysis of enzymes involved in the sialylation/de-sialylation pathways showed that generation of PNA receptors in activated CD8+ T cells is not due to up-regulation of endogenous sialidases. Instead, our results indicate that the PNA(high) phenotype results from de novo synthesis of CD45 carrying reduced sialylated core 1 O-glycans.