A set of T cell clones (TCC) isolated from HLA-DR-, Dw-, DQ-matched allogeneic MLCs was found to proliferate autonomously when stimulated with cells carrying a wide range of class I or II specificities. This apparently unrestricted proliferation was relatively weak, and only low levels of IL-2 were present in the supernatants of stimulated cells. Autologous as well as allogeneic PBMC and B lymphoblastoid cell lines (B-LCL) were capable of stimulating such clones, which were also restimulated by suppressive, but not by helper, TCC. Moreover, such clones displayed the unusual property of autostimulation. mAb inhibition experiments suggested that class II- or class II-restricted antigens were involved in stimulation. Thus, certain "broad" mAbs (TU39, SG520) reacting with multiple locus products inhibited activation of these reagents, but none of those reacting more specifically with DR (TU34, TU37, L243, Q2/70, SG157), DQ (TU22, SPV-L3, Leu 10), or DP (B7/21), or mixtures of these mAbs, were able to do so. Evidence from sequential immunoprecipitation experiments suggested that mAb TU39 bound class II-like molecules other than DR, DQ, and DP on TCC and B-LCL, and it is therefore proposed that such putative novel class II-like molecules may carry the stimulating determinants for these autoreactive clones. DY-reactive clones lacked helper activity for B cells but mediated potent suppressive activity on T cell proliferative responses that was not restricted by the HLA type of the responding cells. Suppressive activity was induced in normal PBMC by such clones, as well as by independent suppressive clones, which was also inhibited only by mAb TU39. These findings lead to the proposal that DY-reactive autostimulatory cells may constitute a self-maintaining suppressive circuit, the level of activity of which would be regulated primarily by the availability of IL-2 in the microenvironment.

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