Links have been observed between infections and the development of autoimmunity. Proposed explanations include activation of self-Ag-bearing APC. Using a model system in which transgenic OVA is expressed in enterocytes, we showed that CD8 T cell recognition of cross-presented Ag in gut-associated lymph nodes was tolerogenic. However, concomitant infection with vesicular stomatitis virus encoding OVA abrogated tolerance and induced disease. We now show that following transfer of naive OT-I T cells, the addition of wild-type vesicular stomatitis virus, oral cholera toxin, or CD40 triggering can induce intestinal disease in transgenic mice. Tissue damage accompanied dramatic increases in cytokine release by activated OT-I cells in the intestine. The data indicated that products of antigenically unrelated infections can combine with cross-presented self-Ags on APC to prime autoaggressiveness, independent of additional Ag release. These results help explain how diverse pathogens, lacking any homology to self-proteins, could be causative agents in induction of organ-specific autoimmunity.