The passive transfer of contact sensitivity (CS) by immune cells can be inhibited with an antigen-specific T suppressor factor. This factor is composed of two subfactors: an antigen-specific subfactor made by an Ly1+ cell (PC1-F) and a antigen nonspecific subfactor made by an Ly2+ T cell (TNBSA-F). The suppressive activity of the complete factor can be eliminated by depleting the assay population of Ly2+ cells, even though it is the Ly1+ cell in the population that transfers the adoptive immunity. This suggests that the Ly2+ cell in the assay population is needed to transduce the suppressive signal to the Ly1+ effector cell of DTH. We found that an Ly2+ cell from immune animals could be induced to produce a cell free subfactor that overcame the requirement for this Ttrans cell in the suppression of CS by TsF. The induction required only PC1-F, TNP-coupled spleen cells, and resulted in the production of an antigen-nonspecific I-J+ subfactor by immune Ly2+, I-J+ cells. The need for the Ly2+ transducer cell could also be overcome by addition of an I-J+ molecule secreted by Ly1 T cells hyperimmunized to SRBC. A suppressor complex made from mixing the I-J+ molecule with TNBSA-F could directly suppress the functional activity of immune T cells not only to transfer CS, but also to deliver help to B cells in an in vitro PFC response. This suppressive complex is antigen-nonspecific and does not require Ly2+ T cells in the assay population for suppressive activity. These results indicate that effector factors of the suppressor circuit require two molecules; one that contains the functional suppressor material and one that serves as a "schlepper," a molecule needed to deliver the suppression to the appropriate target cell. The ability to construct a functional suppressor complex from two subfactors raised against different antigens, using different immunization procedures, which were isolated from factors exhibiting different functional activities suggests that certain cells of the immune system may play a universal role in "transducing" the suppressive signal.

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