Guinea pig anti-idiotypic antibodies (anti-Id) of the IgG1 class, directed to an A/J antibody to Group A streptococcal carbohydrate (A-CHO), or directed to a BALB/c myeloma protein that binds the same antigen, stimulate B-precursor cells as well as T-helper cells when injected into mice of the appropriate strain. The strain-specific induction of both precursor and helper activity was detected by in vitro secondary responses of primed spleen cells to A-CHO or to 2,4,6-trinitrophenyl (TNP) upon challenge with Group A streptococcal vaccine (Strep.A) or with TNP-Strep.A, respectively. B- and T-cell populations primed with anti-Id were uniform with respect to the binding of antigen and of anti-Id. This was in contrast to cells primed with Strep.A, which were heterogenous. Taken together, B and T cells that possess the same antigen-binding specificity share idiotypic determinants, reveal the same idiotypic polymorphism, and may display similar degrees of heterogeneity with respect to the binding of antigen and anti-Id. Since the anti-Id used in this study detect Id determinants associated with the heavy chain of the variable region of mouse antibodies, the data suggest that this region of the immunoglobulin molecule is shared between T- and B-cell antigen receptors.

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