Clonal expansion of isolated precursors to helper T cells was induced in limiting dilution cultures of keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH)-primed F1 hybrid lymph node cells. Progeny of each isolated precursor was tested for helper activity by transfer to independent cultures with hapten-primed B cells of either parental or F1 hybrid origin. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) restriction specificity of each F1 hybrid helper T clone was determined. To assess the contribution of I-A and I-E subregion-encoded genes to the expression of these restriction elements, helper T cell cultures derived from F1 hybrids between strains with recombinant H-2 haplotypes were analyzed. Parental and unique F1 hybrid MHC determinants that are encoded entirely within the I-A subregion were found to restrict the activity of KLH-specific helper T cells.