F1 rats primed with normal parental strain lymphocyte populations and restimulated in culture with parental lymphoblasts generate potent cytotoxic T cell responses to unusual antigen systems. Here we describe in the Lewis (L)/DA anti-DA combination an antigen system most likely of mitochondrial origin with the following properties: it is transmitted maternally from DA strain females, inherited in an extra-chromosomal manner, restricted by class I RT1Aa major histocompatibility complex gene products, extinguished on target cells treated with chloramphenicol, and its pattern of expression in different rat strains correlates with restriction fragment-length polymorphisms of mitochondrial DNA. Sequence analysis of the rat ND1 gene indicates that the maternally transferred factor in the rat is not a homologue of the maternally transmitted factor responsible for the mitochondrial antigen in mice. In keeping with its inheritance from DA females, this antigen is present on target cells from (DA female x L male)F1 donors and all other F1 combinations derived from DA female parents, but absent from target cells from some F1 combinations (L/DA and Wistar-Furth [WF]/DA) derived from DA strain males. The presence of this antigen in other F1 combinations (Brown Norway [BN]/DA, August 2880 [AUG]/DA, and PVG/DA) indicates that this mitochondrial antigen system is shared by the DA, BN, and PVG strains, but not by the L and WF strains.

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