Notch is crucial for multiple stages of T cell development, including the CD4+CD8+ double positive (DP)/CD8+ single positive (SP) transition, but regulation of Notchactivation is not well understood. p53 regulates Presenilin1 (PS1) expression, and PS1 cleaves Notch, releasing its intracellular domain (NIC), leading to the expression of downstream targets, e.g. the HES1 gene. We hypothesize that p53 regulates Notch activity during T cell development. We found that Notch1 expression and activation were negatively regulated by p53in several thymoma lines. Additionally, NIC was elevated in Trp53(-/-) thymocytes as compared to Trp53(+/+) thymocytes. To determine if elevated Notch1 activation in Trp53(-/-) thymocytes had an effect on T cell development, CD4 and CD8 expression were analyzed. The CD4+ SP/CD8+ SP T cell ratio was decreased in Trp53(-/-) splenocytes and thymocytes. This alteration in T cell development correlated with the increased Notch1 activation observed in the absence of p53. These data indicate that p53 negatively regulates Notch1 activation during T cell development. Skewing of T cell development toward CD8+SP T cells in Trp53(-/-) mice is reminiscent of the phenotype of NIC-overexpressing mice. Thus, we suggest that p53 plays a role in T cell development, in part by regulating Notch1 activation.