HLA-loss variants of an EBV-transformed B lymphoblastoid cell line (EBV-LCL) 721 were used to investigate whether human MHC molecules other than known class I or class II were involved in autologous T cell responses. Bulk lymphocyte cultures of purified T cells primed to an autologous variant EBV-LCL that fails to express HLA-class II and has reduced cell surface HLA-class I expression, and oligoclonal TCR-gamma delta-bearing lines derived from them, could lyse both this EBV-LCL and an independently derived, class II expressing autologous variant EBV-LCL that bears no HLA-A, -B, or -C, suggesting the presence of additional HLA-like restriction elements. Cold target inhibition of cytolysis mediated by these lines indicated that a shared or cross-reactive MHC controlled restriction element other than the known MHC determinants was retained by the EBV-LCL variants. Single-cell derived clones from these T cell lines which expressed only the TCR-gamma delta showed this same target cell specificity pattern, proving recognition of MHC-controlled determinants by autologous gamma delta T cells. Anti-gamma delta antibody could inhibit cytolysis by the gamma delta-expressing lines, suggesting that the TCR-gamma delta was involved in recognition of the EBV-LCL targets. Flow cytometric analysis with separate HLA-reactive antibodies indicated that the restriction element for these cytolytic responses is a molecule serologically cross-reactive with HLA-B and -C Ag, yet is a determinant that cannot be HLA-A, -B, -C, -DR, -DQ or -DP.