T cell clones raised against a synthetic peptide, identical to the third hypervariable region of the DR3 BI chain, were tested for secondary proliferative responses against a panel of PBLs. All seven DR3 DPw3+ stimulators could induce proliferation. DR3- DPw3+ PBLs were recognized when the synthetic peptide was added to the cultures. Inhibition studies with mAbs showed that in both cases the HLA-DP molecule is involved in the recognition of both types of stimulators. We conclude that the clones recognize the DR3 peptide presented by HLA-DPw3. This stimulus can be obtained in two different ways: (a) by addition of synthetic peptide to DPw3+ PBLs or (b) by using DR3 DPw3+ stimulator cells where DR3 peptides are present in the culture as a product of denaturation of the DR3 molecule. Because all DR3 DPw3+ PBLs tested could stimulate the line and clones, we assume that the presentation of the DR3 peptide by DP is a naturally and continuously occurring phenomenon.

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