We have examined the expression of I-region antigens on functional subpopulations of murine T cells. A.TH anti-A.TL (anti-Ik, Sk, Gk) alloantiserum was raised by immunization of recipients with concanavalin A (Con A) stimulated thymic and peripheral T-cell blasts. In contrast to similar antisera made by conventional methods, the anti-Ia blast serum was highly cytotoxic for purified T lymphocytes. Moreover, it reacted in a specific fashion with T cells having particular functions. Treatment of keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH)-primed B10.A (H-2 alpha) T cells with this antiserum plus complement resulted in the elimination of helper activity for B-cell responses to trinitrophenyl-KLH. Inhibition was shown to be a result of the selective killing of one type of helper T cell whose activity could be replaced by a factor(s) found in the supernate of Con A-activated spleen cells. A second type of helper cell required for responses to protein-bound antigens appeared to be Ia-. By absorption and analysis on H-2 recombinants, at least two specificities were detectable on helper T cells; one mapping in the I-A subregion and a second in a region(s) to the right of I-J. In addition, the helper T cell(s) involved in the generation of alloreactive cytotoxic lymphocytes was shown to be Ia+, whereas cytotoxic effector cells and their precursors were Ia- with this antiserum. These results provide strong evidence for the selective expression of I-region determinants on T-cell subsets and suggest that T-cell-associated Ia antigens may play an important role in T-lymphocyte function.

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