Injection of BALB/c mice with an affinity-purified goat antibody to mouse IgD (GaM delta) stimulates T cell-independent B cell activation as well as later T cell activation. Activated T cells then induce polyclonal differentiation of B cells into IgG1-secreting cells, which results in an approximately 100-fold increase in serum IgG1 level. It is not known whether the same B cells that are initially activated by GaM delta are the progenitors of the IgG1-secreting cells. To investigate this issue a system was developed in which CB20 mice, which are congenic to BALB/c mice but express Ig of the beta allotype rather than the BALB/c alpha allotype, were injected with GaM delta and simultaneously or subsequently also received BALB/c B cells. The IgG1 response generated by the donor BALB/c B cells was quantitated by an assay specific for IgG1 of the alpha allotype. Our experiments with this system indicate that: 1) BALB/c B cells transferred 2 days after CB20 mice were injected with GaM delta generate a much larger IgG1 response than do BALB/c B cells transferred simultaneously with GaM delta antibody; 2) B cells that express membrane IgD generate the great majority of this response; 3) differences in the magnitudes of the responses of BALB/c B cells transferred at different times after CB20 mice were injected with GaM delta antibody cannot be explained by differences in homing of the donor B cells to the host spleen or by short survival of donor BALB/c B cells after their transfer; and 4) the response made by donor BALB/c B cells transferred 2 days after CB20 mice were injected with GaM delta is proportionate to donor cell representation in the host spleen 1 day after their transfer, whereas the response made by donor cells transferred simultaneously with GaM delta is disproportionately small. These observations suggest that most of the IgG1 antibody made by GaM delta-injected mice is generated by newly produced, mIgD+ B cells that appear approximately 2 days after GaM delta injection, rather than by those B cells that are present in the spleen at the time of GaM delta injection, and support the view that signals that induce B cell secretion of Ig require an interaction with at least partially activated Th cells.