We have investigated the induction of antibody responses to erythrocyte (RBC)-bound antigens in the (CBA/N x B10)F1 mouse. Male B cells, which express the CBA/N defect, were shown to be unresponsive to RBC antigens when the delivered T cell helper activity was solely nonspecific. Thus we demonstrated that defective B cells did not respond to concanavalin A supernatants or bystander helper activity, in spite of the fact that CBA/N-defective mice could produce these T cell activities. The defective B cell did not respond to RBC-bound antigen in the presence of RBC-primed T cells, although the magnitude of this response was usually twofold less than normal controls. The insensitivity of CBA/N defective B cells to nonspecific T cell helper activities seemed to involve at least the inability of RBC antigens to activate defective B cells in the absence of antigen-specific T cell help.

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