To investigate the hypothesis that the micronutrient ascorbic acid can modulate the functional genome, T cells (CCRF-HSB2) were treated with ascorbic acid (up to 150 microM) for up to 24 h. Protein expression changes were assessed by two-dimensional electrophoresis. Forty-one protein spots which showed greater than two-fold expression changes were subject to identification by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation time of flight MS. The confirmed protein identifications were clustered into five groups; proteins were associated with signalling, carbohydrate metabolism, apoptosis, transcription and immune function. The increased expression of phosphatidylinositol transfer protein (promotes intracellular signalling) within 5 min of ascorbic acid treatment was confirmed by Western blotting. Together, these observations suggest that ascorbic acid modulates the T cell proteome in a time- and dose-dependent manner and identify molecular targets for study following antioxidant supplementation in vivo.