Responder and nonresponder mice primed with poly-(L-glutamic acid,L-lysine,L-phenylalanine) (GLPhe), the response to which is under the control of immune response (Ir) genes, were used as a source of both types of helper T cells required for a T15 idiotype dominated T-dependent anti-phosphorylcholine (PC) response. It was found that the activity of one of the helper T cells needed for an anti-PC response was under major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-linked Ir gene control, and only GLPhe-primed responder mice could be used as a source of these cells. These T cells (ThMHC) whose presence is required for in vivo T-B collaboration are found in normal and anti-mu-treated mice, and their activity depends on the hapten being physically linked to the carrier molecule. By contrast, the activity of the second helper T cell (ThId) required for a T15-dominated anti-PC response was present in both GLPhe-primed responder and nonresponder mice. The ThId cell set that is missing or deficient in anti-mu treated mice can be restored by the addition of T cells from normal, carrier-primed donors and restimulating with the priming carrier. When T cells from GLPhe-primed donors are used as a source of ThId cells, both responder and nonresponder donors provide helper cells capable of inducing syngeneic B cells to produce a T15 dominated anti-Pc response. These results are interpreted to suggest that idiotype recognizing helper T cells (ThId) recognize antigen independent of known Ir gene products.

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