The HLA-D region of individuals with the DRw11, w52, DQw3 haplotype encodes multiple molecular products of three distinct subregions, DR, DP, and DQ. Since each molecule can carry multiple stimulatory epitopes, the repertoire of allogeneic T-cell responses to determinants of this haplotype can be quite large. In the present experiments, alloreactive cloned T-cell lines recognized six distinct epitopes associated with DRw11, DRw52, DQw3 haplotypes. Panel studies established that three epitopes were DRwll-like and three were DRw52-like. Blocking with monoclonal antibodies showed that two DRw11-like epitopes were carried by DR-subregion products and one DRwll-like epitope was carried by DQ-subregion molecules. DRw52-like epitopes were detected on separate DR subregion-encoded molecules. One of them carried both DRwl1-and DRw52-like epitopes, the other carried two of the DRw52-like epitopes. These epitopes, which represent functional units that trigger T-cell responses, can be detected at the present time only with the methods used in this report. Conventional allogeneic T-cell responses represent the summation of responses to multiple epitopes encoded by different D-subregion genes.
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