Antisera specific for the constant part Ctau of T cell receptor molecules in mice and rats have been produced in rabbits by immunization with idiotype-positive rat T cell molecules. Such antisera could be shown to react with the majority of normal T lymphocytes from both rats and mice. Mixed leukocyte culture-activated T blasts displayed a higher percentage of positive cells than concanovalin A- or phytohemaglutinin-induced T blasts. Lipopolysaccharide-induced B blasts were not reactive with the antiserum. Lyt-1-,2+,3+ blasts displayed a significantly brighter straining than the corresponding Lyt-1+,2-,3- blasts. Isolation of the reactive molecules from T cells by immunosorption yielded a 70,000-dalton single chain polypeptide as the dominant group of molecules. Plasmin caused the chain to split into 45,000- and 25,000-dalton polypeptides, with the smaller fragment displaying antigen-binding capacity. Molecules identical in size and plasma degradation patterns were isolated from Lyt-1+,2-3- and 1-,2+,3+ blasts. Preliminary functional data supported the view that the antiserum is directed against the constant region Ctau relevant receptor structures on immunocompetent T lymphocytes.

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