Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses served in this study as an experimental model for the analysis of genetic regulations of T-cell responses. Educated irradiated cells from H-2b mice mediated responses in syngeneic recipients, whereas mice of the a, d, f, k, and s haplotypes were nonresponders to poly(LTyr,LGlu)-poly(DLAla)--poly(LLys)[(T,G)-A--L]. These results suggest that cell-mediated immune responsiveness to (T,G)-A--L is linked to the H-2 complex, as was shown for humoral responses. Educated irradiated T cells of F1 hybrids between high and low responders mediated DTH responses, which indicates that the gene(s) controlling the DTH responses is dominant. To analyze the genetic defect in DTH responses to (T,G)-A--L, we separated the T-cell activation phase from the effector phase that was determined in recipient mice. Two types of nonresponders were observed: (a) When lymphocytes of the a or k haplotypes were educated in a syngeneic environment and then transferred into hybrids between the parental (nonresponder x responder) F1 recipients, DTH responses could have been manifested. (b) On the other hand, no DTH responses could be mediated by transferring educated cells of the H-2s or H-2f origin into the appropriate F1 recipients. In addition, irradiated F1 cells that had been activated to (T,G)-A--L could not mediate DTH responses in both types of nonresponder recipients. These results suggest that T cells of H-2k or H-2a mice can be activated to generate DTH responses to (T,G)-A--L and that the defect in these mouse strains is expressed in another cell population needed for the manifestation of the DTH reaction in the recipient mice. In contrast, T cells of H-2s and H-2f origin cannot be activated to (T,G)-A--L and, thus, fail to manifest DTH responses.