Purified type A influenza viral hemagglutinin stimulates an in vitro cell-mediated cytotoxic cell response that exhibits a high degree of specificity for the immunizing hemagglutinin. The response magnitude is proportional to the hemagglutinin dose used for stimulation. The lytic activity of the effector cells is H-2 restricted. Analysis of the specificity of the response indicated that these cytotoxic T cells readily distinguish target cells expressing serologically unrelated hemagglutinin from target cells bearing hemagglutinins serologically related to the stimulating hemagglutinin. Further analysis of the fine specificity of cytotoxic T-cell recognition with serologically cross-reactive type A influenza hemagglutinins revealed a hierarchy of cross-reactivity among these hemagglutinins that was the converse of the serologic hierarchy. These results are discussed in terms of possible differences and similarities in the specificity repertoire of cytotoxic T cells and antibodies. Possible implications of these findings from the standpoint of cytotoxic T-cell induction are also discussed.

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