It has been previously demonstrated that alloantisera can specifically block the activation of T lymphocytes by antigens, the response to which is linked to the presence of histocompatibility (H) types against which the alloantisera are directed. Thus, strain 13 anti-2 serum can inhibit the activation of (2 x 13)F1 T lymphocytes by a DNP derivative of a copolymer of L-glutamic acid and L-lysine (DNP-GL), an antigen the response to which is controlled by a 2-linked Ir gene. It was proposed that alloantisera can inhibit T-lymphocyte antigen recognition through interference with the activity of immune response (Ir) gene products. In order to further study whether the inhibitory antibodies within the alloantisera are directed against H antigens or against the products of the Ir genes, we have examined whether the anti-2 serum can inhibit the function of an Ir gene (the L-glutamic acid and L-alanine [GA] gene), which is normally linked to strain 2 H genes when this gene occurs in an outbred animal lacking strain 2 H genes. In the majority of cases, the anti-2 serum was capable of inhibiting the in vitro proliferative response to GA of T cells derived from animals that were GA+2+, but the serum had little if any effect on the GA response of T cells from GA+2- animals. Furthermore, an antiserum prepared in strain 13 animals against the lymphoid cells of a GA+2- outbred animal was devoid of inhibitory activity on the GA response of cells from a (2 x 13)F1, while an antiserum prepared in strain 13 animals against the lymphoid cells of a GA+2+ outbred animal was capable of specifically inhibiting the response to GA. It thus appears that the inhibition of the GA response by the anti-2 serum is primarily mediated via antibodies directed toward strain 2 H antigens rather than antibodies specific for the product of the GA Ir gene. The mechanism of alloantiserum induced suppression of Ir gene function would then be by steric interference with the Ir gene product on the cell surface, rather than by direct binding to it. This conclusion implies that the products of both the H genes and the Ir genes are physically related on the cell surface. The implications of such a relationship in terms of the fluid-mosaic model of the lymphocyte surface are discussed.

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