The elusive Mls gene(s) are mouse mammary tumor virus genes. The endogenous cotolerogen involved in the clonal deletion of Tcr Vβ5.1, 5.2, and 11 in H-2E+ mouse strains has been narrowed down to MTV-9. We demonstrate that similar to H-2Eα molecules, human DQw6β chain mediated clonal deletion of Tcr Vβ5.1, 5.2, and 11 also requires the MTV-9 gene product. This shows that human class II molecules can present mouse retroviral antigen. Further, backcross analysis involving [B10.M(DQb)×DBA/1] suggest a second cotolerogen in the B10.M background in the clonal deletion of Vβ5-bearing T cells.
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