Disassembly and phagocytic removal of dying cells is critical to maintain immune homeostasis. The factors that regulate fragmentation and uptake of dying lymphocytes are not well understood. Degradation of fodrin, a cytoskeletal linker molecule that attaches CD45 to the actin cytoskeleton, has been described in apoptotic cells, although no specific initiator of fodrin degradation has been identified. CD45 is a glycoprotein receptor for galectin-1, an endogenous lectin that can trigger lymphocyte apoptosis, although CD45 is not required for phosphatidylserine externalization or DNA degradation during galectin-1 death. In this study, we show that fodrin degradation occurs during galectin-1 T cell death and that CD45 is essential for fodrin degradation to occur. In the absence of CD45, or if fodrin degradation is prevented, galectin-1-induced cell death is not accompanied by membrane blebbing, although phosphatidylserine externalization and DNA degradation proceed, indicating that fodrin degradation occurs via a distinct pathway compared with the pathway that leads to these other hallmarks of cell death. Moreover, there is slower phagocytic uptake by macrophages of T cells in which fodrin degradation is prevented, relative to T cells in which CD45-mediated fodrin degradation occurs. These studies identify a novel role for CD45 in regulating cellular disassembly and promoting phagocytic clearance during galectin-1-induced T cell death. Copyright © 2009 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.