Cytotoxic T cells specific for Sendai virus were generated by culturing murine spleen cells in vitro together with UV-inactivated Sendai virus. In vivo immunization of donor mice with UV-inactivated Sendai virus resulted in an in vitro secondary response of increased magnitude. Cytotoxic activity was demonstrated in a short-term 51Cr-release assay, using syngeneic tumor cells which had been coated with inactivated Sendai virus by incubation at 4 degrees C for 30 min. The lysis of Sendai virus-coated target cells was restricted by the H-2 haplotype of the target cells, suggesting that the H-2 genes of the target cell contributed to the specificity of the lysis. Kinetic experiments showed that susceptibility to lysis by cytotoxic T cells specific for Sendai virus appeared within 30 min after coating target cells with inactivated virus. Furthermore, there was no detectable synthesis of new proteins in cells treated with UV-inactivated Sendai virus. For these reasons, we suggest that neither viral replication nor the synthesis of new proteins are necessary for the production of the antigen recognized by cytotoxic cells specific for Sendai virus. We infer that the virus-specific component on the target cells is probably a preformed virion antigen adsorbed onto or integrated into the cell membrane. These results imply that, if the cytotoxic T cell recognizes a single antigenic determinant specified both by viral and H-2 genes, this determinant is formed by the physical association of H-2 and Sendai virus antigens rather than by their alteration during the processes of synthesis.

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