The accessory cell requirements for the induction of the IL 2 receptor by the lectin Con A on murine T cell subsets were directly assayed with anti-IL 2 receptor monoclonal antibodies. Substantial levels of IL 2 receptor expression were induced on T lymphocytes of the MHC class I-restricted, suppressor/cytotoxic phenotype (L3T4-, Ly-2+) in the presence and absence of accessory cells. In contrast, high levels of IL 2 receptor expression could only be induced on T cells of the MHC class II-restricted, helper/inducer phenotype (L3T4+, LY-2-) in the presence, but not in the absence, of accessory cells. Ia- cells such as the P388D1 macrophage line or cultured fibroblasts (DAP X 3) were as efficient as the Ia+ B cell hybridoma LB in providing accessory cell function for the L3T4+, Ly-2- subset. PMA, but not purified human IL 1, could substitute for accessory cells for both IL 2 receptor expression and IL 2 secretion by the L3T4+, Ly-2- subset. These data suggest that IL 2 receptor induction on the L3T4+, Ly-2- subset is complex, possibly requiring a T cell-accessory cell interaction, whereas the lectin may directly trigger IL 2 receptor expression on L3T4-, Ly-2+ T cells.

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