Caveolae are plasma membrane invaginations that function as a center for signal transduction. Recent studies indicate that caveolins, the main proteins in caveolae, serve as scaffolding proteins onto which many classes of signaling molecules are assembled. There are multiple forms of caveolins: caveolin-1 and caveolin-2 are expressed as stable heterooligomeric complexes within most cell types, while caveolin-3 is restricted to striated muscle cells. However, neither caveolin proteins nor caveolae structures are detected in peripheral blood cells or blood cell lines. We identified caveolin-1 in one T cell leukemia cell line, a subline of Jurkat cells, by immunostaining and Western blotting. The cells showed enlarged cell bodies similar to activated T cells. This led us to investigate caveolin expression in adult T cell leukemia (ATL) cell lines, which are known to be constitutively activated. Two of five ATL cell lines expressed caveolin-1. The phenotype of caveolin-1-positive cells expressed not only high levels of the T cell activation markers, as with CD25 or HLA-DR, but also CD54 at extremely high levels. These findings demonstrate for the first time that hematological cells express caveolin-1 in certain states of cell activation. In addition, the caveolin-1 expression may be a useful marker for the diagnosis of ATL malignancy.