Recent studies indicate that both CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes proliferate in vitro in response to Mls-1a-encoded determinants. Using both immunogenetic and antibody blocking approaches we show here that Mls-1a responses of both subsets require expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules (I-A and/or I-E) by the stimulator cells. Furthermore, CD8+ T cell responses to Mls-1a/class II MHC do not require (and are in fact inhibited by) the presence of functional CD8 molecules. Taken together, our data underscore the dramatic differences between CD8+ T cell responses to conventional peptide antigens as opposed to "superantigens" such as Mls-1a.

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