The DR beta-chains of a panel of DRw13 cells were characterized by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in order to identify the molecule bearing the restriction element of a DR-restricted proliferative and cytotoxic T cell clone COT C2 specific for DRw13 and the influenza A virus. Because in different DRw13 haplotypes one DRw13 beta-chain can be associated with other distinct DRw13 beta-chains, such complex associations allowed us to determine the ability of a given DR beta-chain to present the antigen or COT C2. The presence of the DR beta-chain 6B5, and only this chain, is associated with the ability to induce the proliferation of clone COT C2 whatever the second DR beta-chain associated with 6B5 is, namely 6B4 or 6B3. The DRw13 cells that express 6B4 or 6B3 but not 6B5 could not present the antigen to COT C2. Moreover, ILR2, a monoclonal antibody that precipitated 6B5, blocked the proliferation of COT C2, whereas 7.3.19.1, a monoclonal antibody that precipitated only 6B4 and 6B3, could not block the proliferation of this clone. Thus, the DRw13 beta-chain 6B5 appears as the unique class II element that restricts the response of the T cell clone COT C2.

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