T cell responses to the product of the minor lymphocyte stimulatory locus Mls-1a involve the selective use of TCR V beta domains (especially V beta 6 and V beta 8.1) and are generally considered to be restricted to the CD4+ mature subset. We show here that CD8+ (presumably MHC class I-restricted) T cells bearing V beta 6 or V beta 8.1 also respond preferentially to Mls-1a determinants either in vitro (in mixed leukocyte cultures) or in vivo (in an adoptive transfer system). In vitro responses of both CD4+ V beta 6+ and CD8+ V beta 6+ cells to Mls-1a were dependent upon the MHC haplotype of the stimulator cells, with I-E+ (H-2d or H-2k) alleles being much more stimulatory than I-E- (H-2q). These data strengthen the analogy between Mls gene products and other MHC class II-dependent superantigens such as the bacterial enterotoxins.

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