Differences in structure and function of HLA-class II molecules between HLA-DR4-related HLA-D specificities HLA-Dw4, Dw15, and DKT2 were investigated. Anti-HLA-DR framework monoclonal antibody HU-4 completely inhibited the one-way mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) between these specificities. HU-4 precipitated a monomorphic alpha-chain and a polymorphic beta-chain of human class II molecules from each B lymphoblastoid cell line (BLCL) homozygous for these three HLA-D specificities. We established IL 2-dependent T cell lines specific for streptococcal cell wall (SCW) antigen from peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from four DR4-positive donors: an HLA-Dw4/DKT2 heterozygote, an HLA-Dw4/Dw12 heterozygote, an HLA-DKT2/D-blank heterozygote, and an HLA-Dw15/D-blank heterozygote. These T cell lines showed a proliferative response to SCW antigen in the presence of autologous or allogeneic antigen-presenting cells (APC) when T cell donors and APC donors shared at least one of the HLA-D specificities. This cooperation between the T cell line and APC was completely blocked by HU-4. We conclude from these data that the T cells could distinguish three distinct DR4 molecules expressed on APC of HLA-Dw4, Dw15, and DKT2 as restriction molecules at the presentation of SCW antigen.