Previous reports by a number of laboratories have shown that Ig-binding factors may play a role in the regulation of Ig production by B cells. Although numerous studies have addressed the specificity and biologic function of Ig-binding factors at the cellular level, little information is available regarding the mechanism whereby Ig-binding factor modulates Ig production by B cells at the molecular level. Herein we have examined the specificity and molecular mechanism of the suppression of IgA production mediated by IgA-binding factor. Using the IgA-secreting plasmacytoma, MOPC-315, as a target cell, we have demonstrated that: 1) IgA-binding factor binds to IgA, but not to IgG, IgM, or BSA; 2) IgA-binding factor can suppress proliferation as well as IgA production by MOPC-315; 3) soluble IgA, but not IgG or IgM can inhibit the action of IgA-binding factor; 4) suppression of Ig production by IgA-binding factor is maximal within 8 to 12 h after exposure to the factor and is reversible; 5) IgA-binding factor suppresses IgA production by selectively down-regulating synthesis of IgA H and L chain proteins; 6) IgA-binding factor selectively suppresses transcription of alpha-H chain and lambda-2-L chain genes; 7) IgA-binding factor suppresses accumulation of c-myc mRNA. These findings suggest that IgA-binding factor binds selectively to surface IgA on MOPC-315 and suppresses IgA production by down-regulating transcription of H and L chain genes. Suppression of MOPC-315 proliferation by IgA-binding factor may be related to the concomitant down-regulation of the expression of the c-myc gene. c-myc is deregulated in MOPC-315 by virtue of the reciprocal 15:12 chromosomal translocation present in MOPC-315 where the c-myc gene is translocated and rearranged into the alpha-H chain gene complex. Simultaneous suppression of the expression of c-myc and alpha-H chain genes suggests that these two genes may be coordinately modulated, in plasmacytomas, by IgA-binding factor.