H-2 dependent and virus-specific Ir genes regulate the generation of primary virus-specific K or D restricted cytotoxic T-cell responses in vivo. The following examples have been analyzed in some detail: first, Dk restricted responses to vaccinia in Sendai viruses are at least 30 times lower than the corresponding K-restricted responses irrespective of the H-2 haplotypes (k, b, d, dxs, dxq) of K and I regions; in contrast, LCMV infection generates high responses to Dk. These findings are consistent with but do not prove that this Ir gene maps to D. Second, Db restricted responses to vaccinia and Sendai viruses are high in strains possessing the Kq or KbIb, KbaIb haplotype, are very low in strains with Kk, and relatively low in mouse strains of the KdI-Ad haplotype; LCMV generates high Db restricted response in the presence of Kk. This Ir gene for the response to vaccinia and Sendai viruses maps to K since B10.BYR (KqIkdDb) is a responder and B10.A (2R) is a nonresponder (KkIkdDb). Third, virus and K or D allele specific nonresponsiveness is dominant with variable penetrance; in heterozygous mice the nonresponder Kk allele over-rides responsiveness normally found in KbDb or KqDb combinations. Fourth, when (responder X nonresponder)F1 lymphocytes are stimulated in an environment expressing vaccinia virus plus only a high responder Kb or Kq allelle and Db, response to vaccinia Db is high; in contrast when the same F1 cells are stimulated in an environment expressing the low responder allele Kk, response to vaccinia Db is low. Thus absence of Kk during immunization allows generation of high responsive Db restricted vaccinia specific cytotoxic T cells. The Dk dependent low response to vaccinia Dk can be explained by a preclusion rule or by failure of vaccinia to complex with Db; however the analysis of Kk dependent low response to vaccinia Db does not support these explanations or that self-tolerance is responsible for this Ir effect but is compatible with the interpretation that Kk vaccinia is immunodominant over Db vaccinia. These results are discussed with respect to (a) possible mechanisms of regulation by Ir genes and (b) H-2 polymorphism and HLA-disease association.

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