Ts1, or inducer suppressor T cells, share many phenotypic and functional characteristics with helper/inducer subset of T cells. In order to evaluate the relationship between these cell types, we made a series of new Ts1 hybridomas by the fusion of Ts1 cells with the functionally TCR alpha/beta-negative BW thymoma (BW 1100). Three Ts1 hybridomas (CKB-Ts1-38, CKB-Ts1-53, and CKB-Ts1-81) were established that express TCR and produce Ag-specific suppressor factors constitutively, thus making it possible to study the nature and specificity of Ag receptors, MHC restriction, and lymphokine production by the Ts1 hybridomas. Results presented in this report demonstrate that all the Ts1 hybridomas described here express CD3-associated TCR-alpha beta. These three Ts1 hybridomas recognize Ag (NP-KLH) specifically in a growth inhibition assay and this recognition is restricted by IE molecules. Two of the hybridomas also produce IL-2 or IL-2 and IL-4 upon Ag-specific activation. Thus, by these three criteria the Ts1 hybridomas appear indistinguishable from Th cells. These three Ts1 hybridomas, however, release suppressor factors (TsF1) in the supernatant that suppress both in vivo DTH and in vitro PFC responses in an Ag-specific manner. Like the TsF1 factors characterized previously, the suppression mediated by these factors are Igh restricted and lack H-2 restriction. These factors mediate suppression when given in the induction phase but not during the effector phase of the immune response. The TsF1 factors are absorbed by Ag (NP-BSA), and anti-TCR affinity columns and the suppressor activity can be recovered by elution. The data are consistent with the interpretation that Ts1 inducer-suppressor T cells are related to Th cells; the feature that distinguishes these cells is the ability to produce Ag-binding factors that specifically suppress immune responses.

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