The genetic control of the immune response of inbred strains of mice to certain antigens has been demonstrated to be governed by a set of Ir genes linked to the major histocompatibility complex (H-2) of mice (1,2). Until recently, the control was thought to be governed by single, dominant genes, located within the I region of the H-2 complex. Merryman et al. (3) originally demonstrated that the immune response to the synthetic terpolymer L-glutamic acid, L-lysine, L-phenylaline (GLφ) is under dominant, H-2-linked Ir gene control (4-7). This was shown both by crossing two nonresponder parental strains to produce responder offspring in the F(1) generation, and by the analysis of appropriate recombinant stains of mice. The two complementing genes have been mapped in the IA and IC regions of the H-2 complex, and have been termed β and α, respectively (5,6). Thus, any strain of mouse may contain neither, one, or both genes. Only mice containing both genes are capable of responding to GLφ. It has been shown using F(1) hybrid and recombinant strains of mice, that the α- and β-genes can complement each other in either the cis (on the same chromosome) or in the trans (on different chromosomes) position (8).
In this paper we report the results of studies aimed at answering the question of whether or not the α- and β- genes can complement each other when they are present in different lymphoid cells. To this end we have constructed allophenic mice composed of two nonresponder strains (A and C57BL/6), which show gene complementation in the F(1) generation. Allophenic mice are chimeras containing two cell types coexisting in a normal environment. The mice were tested for the specific cellular composition of the two parental cell types and were found to possess a complete range in the relative proportion of the two cell types. This report demonstrates that regardless of the mixture of cell types present in the allophenic mice, none of them were responders to GLφ. Thus no complementation of the α- and β-genes is seen when the two genes are present in different cells.