A number of autosomal dominant immune response (IR) genes have been identified in both mice and guinea pigs. These IR genes have been shown to be linked to the major histocompatibility antigens of the species and to be functionally expressed primarily in T lymphocytes. In order to more fully understand the relationship between IR genes, histocompatibility antigens, and immune recognition, the effect of specific alloantisera on lymphocyte stimulation induced by antigens under control of IR genes was examined. Using lymphocytes from strain 2 or strain 13 animals, the in vitro proliferative responses both to antigens which are known to be under genetic control (DNP-GL in strain 2 guinea pigs and GT in strain 13 guinea pigs) and to an antigen which is not known to be under genetic control (PPD) were inhibited to a similar degree and to a much greater extent than the response to phytohemagglutinin. However, when cells from F1 (2 x 13) animals are used, the alloantisera markedly inhibit only the response which is linked to the histocompatibility antigens against which the serum is directed. Thus, the anti-2 serum inhibited the response to DNP-GL but not to GT; the anti-13 serum inhibited the response to GT but did not affect DNP-GL response. The inhibitory activity of the alloantisera could not be removed by absorption with gamma globulin of the opposite strain. It can be concluded from these observations that immune response genes produce a cell surface-associated product and that this product plays a role in the mechanism of antigen recognition by the T lymphocyte. The mechanisms by which alloantisera block this process of antigenic recognition is not resolved nor is the relationship between the IR gene product and the antigen-binding receptor of the T lymphocyte. The approach described here offers a powerful tool for the resolution of these problems.

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