We have generated an mAb, RR3-15, that recognizes murine TCRs containing the V beta 11 domain. Using this antibody to stain peripheral T cells, we have demonstrated that V beta 11-bearing T cells are largely absent from strains of mice that express the class II MHC molecule, I-E. Studies with F1 mice demonstrate that this effect is dominant, consistent with tolerance. The clonal deletion of V beta 11-bearing T cells appears to occur intrathymically, as immature but not mature V beta 11+ T cells are present in the thymus of I-E-bearing mice. Examination of B6 x DBA/2 recombinant inbred strains demonstrates that the expression of I-E molecules is necessary for the clonal deletion of V beta 11-bearing T cells, but that other non-MHC genes control the clonal deletion process, as well. Paradoxically, only a small fraction of V beta 11+ T cell hybridomas are I-E reactive.

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