Human T cells respond strongly to mouse major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens. The response is directed predominantly to the polymorphic determinants of the MHC antigens and there is little or no response to the nonpolymorphic determinants or to non-MHC antigens. Human cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) are generated specific for the mouse class I MHC antigens and the CTL effectors are blocked by anti-Leu-2a antisera. Human interleukin 2-producing T cells are generated specific for mouse class II antigens and their induction is blocked by anti-Leu-3a antisera. These and other considerations lead us to propose a model for the T cell receptor that provides an explanation for several of the features of T cell recognition. In this model, the recognition of the "class" (I or II) of MHC antigen is separate from the recognition of the polymorphic determinants. We suggest that the initial recognition of the conserved "class" determinants positions another domain of the receptor so that it can only engage with the part of the MHC molecule carrying the polymorphic determinants.

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