The UV-induced, C3H fibrosarcoma, 1591, expresses at least three unique MHC class I antigens not found on normal C3H tissue. Here we report the complete DNA sequence of the three novel class I genes encoding these molecules, and describe in detail the recognition of the individual products by tumor-reactive and allospecific CTL. Remarkably, although C3H does not appear to express H-2L locus information, this C3H tumor expresses two distinct antigens, termed A149 and A166, which are extremely homologous to each other and to the H-2Ld antigen from BALB/c. The gene encoding the third novel class I antigen from 1591, A216, is quite homologous to H-2Kk) throughout its 3' end. Since all three of these genes account for polymorphic restriction fragments not found in C3H, it is likely that they were derived by recombination from the endogenous class I genes of C3H. The DNA sequence homology of A149, A166, and H-2Ld is especially significant given the functional conservation observed between the products of these genes. Limited sequence substitutions appear to correlate with some of the discrete serological differences observed between these molecules. In addition, both A149 and A166 crossreact, but to differing extents, with H-2Ld at the level of T cell recognition. Our results are consistent with the view that CTL recognize complex conformational determinants on class I molecules, but extend previous observations by comparing a set of antigens with discrete and overlapping structural and functional differences.

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