Previously, we have demonstrated the induction of T helper cells that recognize idiotype by antigen (19), idiotype (20), and antiidiotype (12). The T cell population has been characterized and found to recognize both the T15 and M167 myeloma proteins, which share PC binding specificity but differ in idiotypic specificities. In the present work, we used isolated heavy and light chains of T15 and M167 to generate T helper cells, and examined the response to trinitrophenyl (TNP)-T15 and TNP-M167. We found that the heavy chains induced a dose-dependent response to TNP-T15 and TNP-M167, while the light chain priming was ineffective. When isolated chains of a monoclonal anti-T15 antibody (F6-3) were used to induce idiotype-recognizing T cells, only the F6-3 light chains generated T cell help for TNP-T15 and TNP-M167. Evidently, the idiotypic determinant that is recognized by the T cells is not dependent upon the conformation of combined heavy and light chains. These data show that the Th2 helper cells for the T15/M167 idiotopes are induced by free heavy chains of T15 and M167; the Th1 T cells that interact with the Th2 population, of T15 and M167; the Th1 T cells that interact with the Th2 population, however, can be triggered by free light chains of an antiidiotypic hybridoma antibody. These provocative findings suggest a new model for the T helper cell network.

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