The occurrence of distinct genetic defects affecting the generation of T cell-derived suppressor factor (TsF) or the suppressive activity of such TsF was investigated. For the synthetic polypeptide L-glutamic acid50-L-tyrosine50 (GT), it could be shown that the nonsuppressor strain A/J fails to produce suppressor T cells (Ts1) capable of GT-TsF generation upon challenge with GT. Conversely, B6, another nonsuppressor strain, produces GT-TsF active on other allogeneic strains such as A/J, but itself fails to be suppressed by this material. (B6A)F1 mice both make GT-TsF, and are suppressed by it. Further experiments revealed that the production of GT-TsF and the ability to be suppressed by GT-TsF are under the control of H-2-linked genes. Finally, the defect in GT-TsF activity in B6 mice was shown to be exquisitely antigen specific, in that this strain can be suppressed by a closely related TsF specific for L-glutamic acid60-L-alanine30-L-tyrosine10. It is suggested that H-2 (I) control of suppressor T cell (Ts) activity may reflect the involvement of I-A and I-C gene products in antigen presentation to Ts in analog with other T cell subsets, and that TsF function might also involve such presentation, in this case of the idiotypic structures of the TsF-combining site. Predictions deriving from this hypothesis are discussed, including the possibility that H-2 linked immune response genes regulate auto-anti-idiotypic responses in immune networks.