Anti-idiotypic antibodies produced in C57BL/6 mice (H-2b, Igh-1b) against (T,G)-A--L-specific antibodies of C3H.SW mice (H-2b, Igh-1j) were used to probe (T,G)-A--L-specific helper T cell lines and clones for the expression of idiotypic determinants on the cell surface of the monoclonal functional T cells. By using the fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS II), anti-idiotypic sera of individual mice that specifically bind C3H.SW anti-(T,G)-A--L antibodies were shown to stain significantly cells of the E-9M(+) continuous T helper line originated from C3H.SW (T,G)-A--L "educated" T cells. The same antisera did not react with a helper T cell line of C3H.SW origin specific to human gamma-globulin. They also did not stain a (T,G)-A--L-specific helper T cell line derived from CWB (H-2b, Igh-1b) mice, which differ from C3H.SW mice only in their heavy chain allotypes. Thus, the expression of the idiotypic determinants on the T cell lines appears to be antigen-specific and linked to the heavy chain allotypic marker as shown for the specific antibodies. Different clones derived from the E-9 M(+) line were tested their reactivity with the individual anti-idiotypic sera. All clones but one (1.11) were stained significantly. The clones were tested for their biologic activity and all of them except clone 1.11 were found to exert helper activity specific to (T,G)-A--L. Thus, individual anti-idiotypic sera against C3H.SW anti-(T,G)-A--L antibodies recognize cross-reactive idiotypic structures on the surface of antigen-specific monoclonal helper T cells.

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