The specificities of cloned cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL) were studied for the analysis of CTL populations generated against murine leukemia viruses (MuLV) in H-2 congenic BALB/c (H-2d) and BALB.B (H-2b) mice. In particular, CTL generated in response to tumors induced by Gross MuLV and Friend MuLV were studied; these tumors expressed virus-induced antigens that do not cross-react and that can be distinguished from each other. The systematic study of 92 CTL clones clearly indicated that MuLV-immune CTL were highly heterogeneous with respect to both the intensities of target cell lysis that they mediated and to their specificity of recognition of MuLV-induced tumor target cells. Various categories of CTL clones were identified, ranging from CTL clones tht were tightly H-2 restricted and specific for the immunizing tumor to CTL clones that displayed no discernible patterns of specificity and that attacked a large number of different target cells. In addition, the surface markers of these cloned CTL were defined, and the best conditions for their prolonged maintenance in culture were determined. The present data indicate that future efforts in the definition of target antigens recognized by tumor-specific CTL should be performed with monoclonal lymphocytes.

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