Since Pam 212 cells express low levels of class I major histocompatibility (MHC) antigens, we tested their ability to present alloantigens or minor histocompatibility (mH)/minor lymphocyte stimulatory (mls) antigens in disparate hosts. After subcutaneous injection, Pam 212 cells grew progressive tumors in normal BALB/c mice but were rejected rapidly by naive C3H mice (3 weeks) and slowly by DBA/2 mice (8 weeks). Pam 212 cells (high or low class I MHC expression) induced a strong primary MLR in DBA/2 T cells, but a weak BALB/c T-cell response. In contrast, splenic APC (BALB/c) did not induce an MLR, suggesting that Pam 212 cells represented mH antigens to naive DBA/2 T cells. This MLR was blocked by anti-TCR alpha/beta, anti-class II, and anti-CD4 monoclonal antibodies, but was independent of ICAM-1 and B7. Repeated immunization using IFN-gamma-treated Pam 212 cells induced anti-Pam 212 CTL in DBA/2 mice but not in BALB/c mice. DBA/2 T-cell responses did not appear to be mls (MMTV superantigen)-specific, because Pam 212 cells did not express MMTV mRNA detectable by RT-PCR. Pam 212 cells presented non-lymphoid-associated mH antigens that served as potent stimuli for tumor rejection in mH/mls-disparate hosts, which is similar to tumor rejection mediated by MHC alloantigens.