Genetically engineered pig organs could provide transplants to all patients with end-stage organ failure, but Ab-mediated rejection remains an issue. This study examines the class II swine leukocyte Ag (SLA) as a target of epitope-restricted Ab binding. Trans-fection of individual a- and b-chains into human embryonic kidney cells resulted in both traditional and hybrid class II SLA molecules. Sera from individuals on the solid organ transplant waiting list were tested for Ab binding and cytotoxicity to this panel of class II SLA single-Ag cells. A series of elution studies from an SLA-DQ cell line were performed. Our results indicate that human sera contain Abs specific for and cytotoxic against class II SLA. Our elution studies revealed that sera bind the SLA-DQ molecule in an epitope-restricted pattern. Site-specific mutation of one of these epitopes resulted in statistically decreased Ab binding. Humans possess preformed, specific, and cytotoxic Abs to class II SLA that bind in an epitope-restricted fashion. Site-specific epitope mutagenesis may decrease the Ab binding of highly sensitized individuals to pig cells.