Lymphocytes from BALB/c or C57B6/6 mice that develop killer activity to alloantigens belong to the numerically small Ly-23 subclass of peripheral T cells, distinguished by selective expression of Ly-23 determinants on their surfaces. The maturation of these cells to killer cells can be amplified by Ly-1+ cells, which do not themselves contribute to the killer cell pool. This amplification was abolished by escluding Ia("Beta")+ cells from the stimulator population during mixed lymphocyte culture (MCL), suggesting that amplification is due to selective recognition of I region antigens by L-1+ cells, a conclusion already drawn from our previous evidence that Ia differences activate Ly-1+ cells but not Ly-23+ cells. These and other experiments indicate that amplification of killer cell production in vitro by Ly-1+ cells is not due to their conversion to Ly-23+ cells during MLC, but to their ability to recognize major histocompatibility complex determinants not recognized by Ly-23+ cells.