The identity of the self determinants involved in the selection of the T cell repertoire has been a matter of considerable interest. In addition to the apparent critical role of MHC gene products, accumulated experimental results indicate the importance of non-MHC gene products in T cell repertoire selection. In particular, murine Mlsa and Mlsc determinants have been shown to be highly stimulatory to allogeneic T cells and to be involved in the negative selection (elimination) of self-reactive T cells expressing selected TCR V beta segments. In this work, a unique phenomenon of genetic redundancy is described in the control of Mlsc expression: Mlsc appears to be controlled by at least two unlinked loci, and the product of either one of these loci is sufficient to evoke Mlsc-specific T cell response and to act as a ligand in the deletion of self Mlsc-reactive V beta 3+ T cells. Based on these findings, we propose a possible explanation for the fact that Mls-like genes or gene products have not been identified in other species such as man.

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