Using a cryptococcal culture filtrate antigen (CneF) in a murine model, we have demonstrated previously that a cascade of Cryptococcus neoformans-specific suppressor T cells and soluble factors function in suppressing the cryptococcal delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response. In addition, we have successfully hybridized the C. neoformans-specific, first-order T-suppressor (Ts1) cell and have established that the culture supernatant (hTsF1) from this hybridoma induces second-order T-suppressor (Ts2) cells in vivo. Here we report the in vitro induction of expression-phase suppressor cells. The suppressor cells were induced by culturing nylon wool-nonadherent splenic cells from naive mice with hTsF1 in the absence of CneF. Nylon wool-nonadherent splenic cells similarly cultured with supernatants from the BW5147 thymoma cells, the fusion partners of the hybridoma, did not significantly suppress the cryptococcal DTH response. The suppressor cells were designated Ts2 cells based on their similarities in function, specificity, and phenotype, i.e. L3T4-, Lyt-2+, and I-J+, to the in vivo-induced Ts2 cells. By employing the in vitro culture technique, we demonstrated that the precursors of the functional Ts2 cells were L3T4- Lyt-1-2+ I-J- cells. The induction of Ts2 cells was not associated with [3H]thymidine incorporation; therefore, we concluded that hTsF1 induces the Lyt-2+ I-J- cells to differentiate into Lyt-2+ I-J+ functional Ts2 cells without a significant amount of proliferation. From the results of this study, a better understanding of the processes involved in the regulation of the DTH response to CneF was achieved. The in vitro culture technique will allow for further detailed studies of the interactions between the various cell populations and the Ts1 cell-derived soluble factor during the induction of Ts2 cells.