We have demonstrated that B cell recognition of Ia molecules is involved in polyclonal B cell differentiation by B151-TRF2. The present study was undertaken to examine the Ia recognition specificity of B151-TRF2-responsive B cells in fully major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-allogeneic P1----P2, semiallogeneic P1----(P1 x P2)F1, and double donor (P1 + P2)----(P1 x P2)F1 and (P1 + P2)----P1 radiation bone marrow chimeras. The B cells from both P1----P2 and P1----(P1 x P2)F1 chimeras could give rise to in vitro immunoglobulin M-producing cells upon stimulation with B151-TRF2 comparable in magnitude to that of normal P1 B cells, and their responses were inhibited by anti-I-AP1 but not by anti-I-AP2 monoclonal antibody even in the presence of mitomycin C-treated T cell-depleted P2 spleen cells as auxiliary cells. In contrast, the B151-TRF2 responses of P1 B cells isolated from both (P1 + P2)----(P1 x P2)F1 and (P1 + P2)----P1 double bone marrow chimeras became sensitive to the inhibition of not only anti-I-AP1 but also anti-I-AP2 monoclonal antibody only when the culture was conducted in the presence of P2 auxiliary cells, demonstrating that they adaptively differentiate to recognize as self-structures allogeneic as well as syngeneic Ia molecules. Moreover, the experiments utilizing B cells from H-2-congenic mice and B cell hybridoma clones as auxiliary cells revealed that B151-TRF2-responsive B cells recognize Ia molecules expressed on B cells. Taken together, these results demonstrate that B151-TRF2-responsive B cells recognize Ia molecules expressed by B cells as self-structures and that their self-recognition specificity is dictated by the MHC haplotype of bone marrow cells present during the B cell ontogeny but not by the MHC haplotype of a radiation-resistant host environment.