We find that a fraction of Ly-1+2- inducer T cell clones inhibits differentiation of memory B cells into IgG-secreting plaque-forming cells. Inhibition of secondary antibody responses was not the result of induction of Ly-2+ T suppressors. Instead, inducer cells directly inactivated B cells, requiring an antigen bridge as well as identity at the major histocompatibility complex (I-A) locus. The interaction between the inducer T cell clone and hapten-specific B memory cells results in an early proliferative response and subsequent failure of B cells to secrete antibody in response to T helper cell signals. Possible mechanisms for this novel type of B cell inactivation are explored.
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