The site-1 determinant of the hemagglutinin molecule of influenza virus (A/PR/8/34) is one of several immunodominant sites in the BALB/c Th cell response to Ha. A synthetic peptide comprising this T cell site (HA110-120), a panel of analogs containing single substitutions in this determinant, and homologs truncated at the amino- or carboxyl-terminal were used to examine the fine specificities of 15 T cells specific for site-1 in the context of I-Ed. The results indicate that every residue within the minimal determinant plays a role in the T cell recognition process, as single substitutions at any of these positions affected the ability of the peptide to stimulate at least some site 1-specific T cells. For the majority of the residues examined, substitutions had dissimilar effects on distinct T cells, indicating that the substituted residues were affecting recognition in a receptor-specific manner. Each of the 15 T cells examined had a distinct fine specificity pattern, suggesting that the BALB/c T cell repertoire for this site is likely to exceed 100 distinct clonotypes.

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