During infection, antigen-specific T cells undergo tightly regulated developmental transitions controlled by transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. We found that the microRNA miR-31 was strongly induced by activation of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) in a pathway involving calcium and activation of the transcription factor NFAT. During chronic infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) clone 13, miR-31-deficent mice recovered from clinical disease, while wild-type mice continued to show signs of disease. This disease phenotype was explained by the presence of larger numbers of cytokine-secreting LCMV-specific CD8 + T cells in miR-31-deficent mice than in wild-type mice. Mechanistically, miR-31 increased the sensitivity of T cells to type I interferons, which interfered with effector T cell function and increased the expression of several proteins related to T cell dysfunction during chronic infection. These studies identify miR-31 as an important regulator of T cell exhaustion in chronic infection.