T cell activation involves the recognition of a foreign antigen complexed to the major histocompatibility complex on the antigen presenting T cell to the T cell receptor. This leads to activation of signaling pathways, which ultimately leads to induction of key cytokine genes responsible for eradication of foreign antigens. We used the mouse EL4 T cell as a model system to study genes that are induced as a result of T cell activation using phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) and calcium ionomycin (I) as stimuli. We were also interested to examine the importance of new protein synthesis in regulating the expression of genes involved in T cell activation. Thus we have pre-treated mouse EL4 T cells with cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor, and left the cells unstimulated or stimulated with PMA/I for 4 h. We performed microarray expression profiling of these cells to correlate the gene expression with chromatin state of T cells upon T cell activation . Here, we detail further information and analysis of the microarray data, which shows that T cell activation leads to differential expression of genes and inducible genes can be further classified as primary and secondary response genes based on their protein synthesis dependency. The data is available in the Gene Expression Omnibus under accession number GSE13278.