Human T lymphocytes express a Ca2+-activated K+ current (IK), whose roles and regulation are poorly understood. We amplified hSK4 cDNA from human T lymphoblasts, and we showed that its biophysical and pharmacological properties when stably expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells were essentially identical to the native IK current. In activated lymphoblasts, hSK4 mRNA increased 14.6-fold (Kv1.3 mRNA increased 1.3-fold), with functional consequences. Proliferation was inhibited when Kv1.3 and IK were blocked in naive T cells, but IK block alone inhibited re-stimulated lymphoblasts. IK and Kv1.3 were involved in volume regulation, but IK was more important, particularly in lymphoblasts. hSK4 lacks known Ca2+-binding sites; however, we mapped a Ca2+-dependent calmodulin (CaM)-binding site to the proximal C terminus (Ct1) of hSK4. Full-length hSK4 produced a highly negative membrane potential (Vm) in Chinese hamster ovary cells, whereas the channels did not function when either Ct1 or the distal C terminus was deleted (Vm approximately 0 mV). Native IK (but not expressed hSK4) current was inhibited by CaM and CaM kinase antagonists at physiological Vm values, suggesting modulation by an accessory molecule in native cells. Our results provide evidence for increased roles for IK/hSK4 in activated T cell functions; thus hSK4 may be a promising therapeutic target for disorders involving the secondary immune response.