During the course of studies designed to obtain monoclonal antibodies (mAb) that recognize the rat interleukin 2 receptor, a mouse IgG1 mAb (ART62) was identified which inhibits the interleukin 2 (IL 2)-dependent proliferation of rat T lymphoblasts without affecting the binding of IL 2 to such cells. In order to characterize the cell surface components that react with the mAb ART62, T lymphoblasts were surface-labeled with 125I, and the radioactive molecules were immunoprecipitated by the antibody analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). The mAb ART62 precipitated two major components of 48,000 m.w. and 12,000 m.w., respectively, which were different from those which react with the anti-IL 2-receptor antibody ART18, a molecule of 50,000 to 55,000 m.w. Sequential immunoprecipitation studies revealed that the mAb ART62 reacts with the MHC class 1 antigen that reacts with the classical anti-rat MHC class 1 mAb OX18, and vice versa. In contrast to the mAb ART62, OX18 that does not affect and several other mAbs known to inhibit the rat MLR failed to inhibit IL 2-dependent proliferation of rat T lymphoblasts. In contrast to the anti-IL 2 receptor antibody ART18, ART62 effectively inhibited IL 2-driven proliferation even when added to cells already committed to proliferate by IL 2-IL 2 receptor interaction. These data raise the possibility that MHC class 1 antigens could be involved in the chain of reactions mediating the signals required for cell proliferation.