A human T cell line, Peer, that expresses the T cell helper phenotype produces discrete activation and growth factors for tonsillar B cells. The B cell activation factor produced by Peer is biochemically and physiologically distinct from other lymphokines known to enhance B cell proliferation, namely, interleukin 1, interleukin 2, interferon, and previously characterized B cell growth factors (BCGF). The BCGF produced by Peer is functionally similar to previously described BCGF but has a m.w. of approximately 30,000 daltons. The identification and characterization of a T cell-derived activation factor that can induce apparently resting (Go phase) B cells to enter S phase in the absence of an exogenous first signal has important implications in the additional dissection of the complex steps in the human B cell cycle.