A combination of in vitro and in vivo techniques were used to explore the mode of action of both crude and purified suppressive extracts specific for the random copolymer L-giutamic acid(60)-L-alanine(30)-L-tyrosine(10) (GAT- T(s)F) obtained from nonresponder DBA/1 (H-2(q)) mice. Normal DBA/1 spleen cells were incubated under modified Mishell-Dutton culture conditions for 2 days together with crude or purified GAT-T(s)F, and in the presence or absence of free GAT. These cells were then washed extensively and 3 × 10(6) viable cells transferred to syngeneic recipients, which were challenged at the same time with the immunogenic form of GAT complexed to methylated bovine serum albumin (GAT-MBSA). GAT-specific IgG plaque-forming cells (PFC) in the spleen were assayed 7 days later. In agreement with earlier in vitro studies on the action of GAT-T(s)F, it was demonstrated that under these conditions, low concentrations of GAT-T(s)F stimulated the development of cells which, aider transfer, are able to suppress the GAT PFC response to GAT-MBSA. The cells responsible for this suppression were shown to be T lymphocytes by using nylon wool-purified T cells for suppressor cell induction and by eliminating suppressive activity in cells cultured with crude GAT-T(s)F by treatment with anti-Thy 1.2 plus C before transfer. The suppressor T cells act in a specific manner failing to suppress significantly either anti-sheep erythrocyte or trinitrophenyl-ovalbumin primary PFC responses. For the induction of GAT-specific suppressor T cells in culture, a moiety bearing H- 2(K(q) or I(q)) determinants and also GAT, either bound to the crude GAT- T(s)F or added in nanogram amounts to antigen (GAT)-free purified GAT-T(s)F, were both required.

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