The mechanism of B cell suppression by a T cell hybridoma-derived monoclonal effector suppressor factor (TsF3) was studied in the 4-hydroxy-3-nitrophenyl acetyl (NP) system. The NP-specific effector suppressor cells that produce TsF3 are Lyt-1-, 2+, I-J+, NP-binding T cells and are induced by immunization with NP conjugates. Monoclonal TsF3 inhibits both T cell activity as measured by suppression of contact sensitivity responses and B cell function as measured by suppression of antibody production to both T-independent and T-dependent antigens. The present studies were designed to specifically investigate the mechanisms and genetic restrictions that govern the interactions between TsF3 and its target cells in the plaque-forming cell (PFC) response. The results show that the target of TsF3 is a splenic adherent cell. Suppression will occur only if the restriction specificity of the TsF3 matches the H-2 genotype of the adherent population. Once this TsF3-adherent cell interaction has occurred, suppression of NP-specific B cells can occur across an H-2 barrier. The data also demonstrate that Igh-linked gene products do not appear to play a part in the TsF3-mediated suppression of in vitro PFC responses, which contrasts with the requirements for regulation of T cell-mediated contact sensitivity responses.