The role of non-H-2-linked genes in the control of the antibody response to staphylococcal nuclease has been investigated. 3 wk after immunization with nuclease in complete Freund's adjuvant, strain A/J (H-2 a) mice produced significantly higher titers of antibody than strain B10.A (H-2(a)) mice, whereas mice of strains A.BY (H-2(b)) and B10 (H-2(b)) produced barely detectable titers. With hyperimmunization, A/J and A.BY mice reached the same peak levels for antibody titers, both severalfold higher than those reached by B10.A and B10 mice. Analysis of the specificity of antibodies by assessment of binding to two fragments of nuclease showed similarities between strains of the same H-2 haplotype. These results suggest that although H-2-1inked genes determined initial responsiveness at 3 wk and the relative proportions of antibodies directed toward different antigenic determinants on the nuclease molecule, non-H-2-linked genes determined the overall magnitude of the hyperimmuneresponse. Measurement of the affinity of the antibodies to the nuclease fragment (1-126) showed that strains B10 and B10.A produced antibodies with 7- to 10-fold higher affinity than comparable antibodies from strains A.BY and A/J. In a backcross of (B10.A × A/J) × B10.A, the level of antibody segregated independently of the Ig-1(e) C(H) allotype and the A/J anti-nuclease idiotypes. Thus, a gene(s) linked to neither H-2 nor heavy chain structural genes appears to control the aggregate response to antigenic determinants on the nuclease molecule independent of subspecificities of these antibodies or their idiotype.

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