Two antisera and a monoclonal antibody raised in BALB.K mice against cloned, major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted, antigen-specific helper T cell lines are described. These antibodies are specific for individual cloned T cell lines and are potent inducers of T cell proliferation. The induction of T cell proliferation by these antibodies requires the presence of an adherent accessory cell. There is no H-2 restriction between this accessory cell and the cloned T cell, nor is this antibody-induced proliferation blocked by a monoclonal anti-Fc receptor antibody. The requirement for an accessory cell, however, is eliminated in the presence of an IL-1- or IL-2-rich supernatant. Thus this system allows the analysis of helper T cell activation with only a single cell type present. Anti-T cell sera also induce T cell-dependent B cell proliferation and immunoglobulin secretion. The induction of T cell-dependent B cell activation by these sera does not require H-2-matched T cells and B cells. The specificity of these antibodies and their ability to stimulate cloned helper T cells in the absence of antigen and antigen-presenting cells strongly suggest that these antibodies are directed against antigen and/or Ia recognition sites on the T cell.

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