Two genetic loci, Ir-Z1 and ir-Z2, controlling the immune response to adjuvant-free bacterial β-D-galactosidase (Z) are present in inbred mouse strains SJL/J and CE/J, respectively. Each locus segregates as a single, autosomal gene: Ir-Z1 as dominant and ir-Z2 as recessive. The response is characterized by production of activating and precipitating IgG. Maximal levels of circulating IgG occur between 16 and 20 days after immunization with a single, 50-µg dose of enzyme. Failure of proteins other than Z to elicit an immune response indicates that the Ir-Z control is specific for determinant(s) of this enzyme. The immunogenicity of β-D-galactosidase preparations cannot be attributed to either the catalytic activity of the enzyme or adjuvant contamination. Non-responder mice acquire immunologic memory without detectable increase in circulating specific IgG under the same conditions that elicit antibody production in responder strains.

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