Sinclair miniature swine represent a breed of miniature swine which display a significant incidence of inheritable melanoma which undergo a developmentally regulated spontaneous regression. In an attempt to characterize the host cellular immune response to the melanoma, lymphocyte cell lines have been generated from peripheral blood and designated as peripheral blood lymphocyte cell lines (PBLCLs). The cell lines were expanded in vitro without the addition of exogenous mediators, cloned by limiting dilution, and characterized by flow microfluorimetry, Western, and Northern blot analysis. The cell lines were shown to be CD2-, CD4-, CD8-, and slg-, a phenotype consistent with a null cell population described in swine. The null cell population in swine has been reported to consist of a subpopulation of cells which express the gamma delta T cell receptor (TCR) heterodimer, swine gamma delta T lymphocytes. The PBLCLs were further analyzed by flow microfluorimetry and observed to express the IL-2R, swine MHC Class II antigens, and the endothelial lymphocyte adhesion marker (CD44), which can function as a homing receptor for the skin. In addition, the PBLCLs were observed to express the antigen which is recognized by mAb 86D, an antibody that has been reported to recognize an external epitope on a subset of gamma delta TCR bearing swine T lymphocytes. Western blot analysis of Triton X-114 phase fractions of a PBLCL revealed a protein recognized by the W6 antibody, an antibody which recognizes a conserved region of the C delta chain. Furthermore, Southern and Northern blot analysis indicated that the PBLCL have rearranged the TCR gamma chain gene and express mRNA from the TCR gamma and delta chain genes prior to and following treatment with ionomycin or Concanavalin A. Therefore, the data indicates that the PBLCLs represent swine gamma delta T lymphocyte cell lines which should enable us to enhance our understanding of the role of gamma delta T lymphocytes in the porcine immune system.