A gene coding for the major histocompatibility antigen HLA-A2 was transferred into human HLA-A2 negative M1 cells and murine L cells. Following transfection, these cells expressed molecules at the cell surface that are biochemically indistinguishable from HLA-A2 antigens on the human cell line JY from which the HLA-A2 gene was isolated. The M1A2 cells were recognized and lysed by a cytolytic T-cell clone specific for HLA-A2. The transfected L cells which express HLA-A2 in association with human beta 2-microglobulin were not lysed by this T-cell clone. The specific cytolysis of M1A2 cells could be inhibited by monoclonal antibodies to HLA-A2, and monoclonal antibodies to T3, T8, and LFA-1 on cytotoxic T lymphocytes. These results suggest that killing by allospecific T cells requires HLA-A2 antigens as well as other species-specific structures on the target cell surface.

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