The mechanisms by which cells rapidly polarize in the direction of external signals are not understood. Helper T cells, when contacted by an antigen-presenting cell, polarize their cytoskeletons toward the antigen-presenting cell within minutes. Here we show that, in T cells, the mammalian Ras-related GTPase CDC42 (the homologue of yeast CDC42, a protein involved in budding polarity) can regulate the polarization of both actin and microtubules toward antigen-presenting cells but is not involved in other T-cell signaling processes such as those which culminate in interleukin 2 production. Although T-cell polarization appears dispensable for signaling leading to interleukin 2 production, polarization may direct lymphokine secretion towards the correct antigen-presenting cell in a crowded cellular environment. Inhibitor experiments suggest that phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase is required for cytoskeletal polarization but that calcineurin activity, known to be important for other aspects of signaling, is not. Apparent conservation of CDC42 function between yeast and T cells suggests that this GTPase is a general regulator of cytoskeletal polarity in many cell types.