To investigate the contribution to allorecognition of the individual polymorphic positions Glu 69 and Val 36 from the DPB1*02012 allele, DPB1*02012 cDNA was subjected to site-directed mutagenesis and alleles expressing Lys at 69 and Ala at 36 were generated. The lymphoblastoid cell line (LCL) 45.EM1, a previously generated mutant B-LCL which expresses normal levels of DPA mRNA but is not able to transcribe DPB, was transfected with wild-type or mutant DPB1*02012 cDNAs. The ability of two HLA-DPw2 alloreactive CD4+ cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) clones to lyse the panel of DPB1*02012 wild-type and site-directed mutant B-cell lines was tested. Both CTL clones (8.3 and 8.9) lysed the B-LCL 45.1, which is haploid for HLA and expresses wild-type DPB1*02012, and transfectants expressing Ala at 36 instead of Val, indicating that this polymorphic residue is not critical for T-cell recognition. However, the change of Glu to Lys at 69 prevented recognition by clones 8.3 and 8.9. These data demonstrate that the residue at peptide-binding position 69 is crucial for T-cell receptor recognition and suggest the requirement for a negatively charged residue at this position for allostimulation of these T-cell clones. The side chain of DPbeta-69 is predicted to point into the peptide-binding groove, and the existence of positive(Lys) or negative (Glu) residues probably leads to substantial differences in the allo- or auto-DP-bound peptides or to differences in the conformation of the peptide-MHC complex, which would therefore be responsible for specific DPw2 allorecognition. The binding of a panel of monomorphic and polymorphic anti-HLA-DP monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to these transfectants was also tested by flow cytometry. The changes at Glu 69 and Val 36 did not affect recognition by any of the monomorphic antibodies tested. However, the binding pattern of some of the polymorphic mAbs was clearly modified. Therefore, even though it is not crucial for T-cell allorecognition, polymorphic residue 36 must be involved in epitopes recognized by some polymorphic anti-DP antibodies, while residue 69 of the DPB molecule is crucial both for T-cell allorecognition and recognition by some mAbs.