Tolerance to Mlsa has been shown to be associated with clonal deletion of cells carrying TCR beta chain variable regions V beta 6 or V beta 8.1 in mice possessing I-E antigens. To evaluate the rules of tolerance induction to Mlsa we prepared irradiation bone marrow chimeras expressing Mlsa or Mlsb and I-E by different cell types. Deletion of V beta 6+, Mlsa-reactive T cells required the presence of Mlsa and I-E products either on bone marrow-derived cells or on irradiated recipient cells. Tolerance was induced when Mlsa and I-E were expressed by distinct cells of the chimera. Also neonatally tolerized mice exhibited depletion of V beta 6+ cells after injection of I-E- Mlsa spleen cells (DBA/1) into newborn I-E+ Mlsb mice (BALB/c x B10.G)F1. These results suggest that the product of the Mlsa locus is soluble and/or may be transferred from cell to cell and bound to I-E antigens. The chimera experiments also showed that tolerance to Mlsa is H-2 allele independent, i.e., is apparently unrestricted. Differentiation of chimeric (H-2d/Mlsa x H-2q/Mlsb)F1 stem cells in either an H-2d or an H-2q thymus revealed that tolerance assessed by absence of V beta 6+ T cells is not dependent on the thymically determined restriction specificity of T cells.

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