Two T4 cell clones (TLC) specific for antigenic epitopes on Chlamydia trachomatis were studied. Using a panel of allogeneic antigen-presenting cells (APC), both TLC were found to be restricted by HLA class II elements closely associated with, but not identical to the DRw5S specificity, as determined by highly selected alloantisera, a monoclonal antibody (mAb), 109d6, and confirmed on the DNA level by determination of restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) with a DR beta probe. Furthermore, HLA-DR-specific mAb, including 109d6, but not other HLA class II- or class I-specific antibodies inhibited the two TLC, strongly suggesting that the restriction element is expressed by a DR molecule. Using digestion with Hind III restriction enzyme and a DR beta probe, we found a complete concordance between the appearance of a 9.3 kilobase band and the ability of allogeneic APC to restimulate the T cell clones. Thus, the restriction element for these T cell clones appear to be expressed by DR molecules, but can, at present, only be detected at the genomic level.