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T cell recognition of nonpolymorphic determinants on H-2 class I molecules.


Recognition of polymorphic determinants on class I or class II MHC Ag is required for T lymphocyte responses. Using cell-size artificial membranes (pseudocytes) bearing H-2 class I Ag it is demonstrated that T cells can, in addition, recognize nonpolymorphic determinants on class I proteins. Pseudocytes bearing class I alloantigen stimulate in vitro generation of secondary allogeneic CTL responses. At a suboptimal alloantigen surface density, incorporation of class I molecules identical to those of the responder cells (self-H-2) or from third-party cells resulted in dramatically enhanced responses, whereas incorporation of class II proteins had no effect. The receptor that mediates recognition of conserved class I determinants has not been identified, but results of antibody blocking studies are consistent with the Lyt-2/3 complex of CTL having this role. Thus, class I proteins on Ag-bearing cells can have two distinct roles in T cell activation, one involving recognition of polymorphic determinants by the Ag-specific receptor and the other involving recognition of conserved determinants.

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