To study the gene products of the HLA complex, we produced two monoclonal antibodies, termed HU-18 and HU-23. They were active in complement-dependent cytotoxicity and detected B-cell alloantigens encoded by a locus (or loci) linked to HLA. When three types of HLA-DR4 homozygous B-cell lines with different HLA-D specificities were tested for reactivity with HU-18 and HU-23, they displayed distinct reaction patterns depending on the HLA-D specificities they possessed: EBV-Wa (HLA-DYT homozygous), negative for both HU-18 and HU-23; KT2 and KOB (HLA-DKT2 homozygous), positive only for HU-18; and ER (HLA-Dw4 homozygous), positive for both. These differential reaction patterns were further confirmed by testing against a panel of 17 HLA-DR4-positive peripheral blood lymphocytes with known HLA-D specificities. Thus, these monoclonal antibodies allow us to identify HLA-DYT, HLA-DKT2, and HLA-Dw4 solely by serologic methods. This is the first clearcut serologic identification of these three HLA-DR4-associated HLA-D specificities, which have been indistinguishable by conventional serology and identified only by cellular techniques. It is hoped that immunochemical investigations using HU-18 and HU-23 will advance our understanding of the HLA-D region on a molecular level.
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