The rejection of Hh-1 incompatible bone marrow cells in irradiated mice is mediated by NK cells and is genetically regulated. We tested the role of the NK-specific gene, NK1.1, in regulating the rejection of allogeneic bone marrow cell grafts. NK1.1+ mice, that are known to display strong resistance against Hh-1 incompatible grafts, were crossed to H-2/Hh-1 identical NK1.1-, poor responder mice, and the progeny were backcrossed to the poor responder parent. The segregating mice were individually typed for their expression of NK1.1 and the ability to resist Hh-1 incompatible bone marrow cells (BMC). A strong correlation was noted between expression of NK1.1 and rejection of H-2d/Hh-1d BMC. Our results support the idea that NK1.1 is one of the genes responsible for strong resistance to Hh-1d (determinant 2) but not for Hh-1j (determinant 3) BMC grafts. We suggest that the NK1.1 molecule functions as an accessory molecule in the cellular interactions involving the recognition of Hh-1 determinants.

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