Using B cells from the transgenic mouse line B6-Sp6 and control littermates, stimulated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) under novel culture conditions that provide for the response of all B cells, we show here that specific ligation of the surface IgM molecules always results in inhibition of terminal differentiation and immunoglobulin secretion by activated cells, regardless of the ligand. Thus, monoclonal antibodies to (a) the CH region of Ig (anti-μ. and anti-allotype), (b) the Cx region, (c) the V region (anti-idiotype) of surface IgM, as well as (d) multivalent antigen (2,4,6-trinitrophenyl-bovine serum albumin), all show similar effects and dose-response curves. IgD-negative transgenic B cells are equally sensitive to IgM ligation-dependent inhibition, as control (IgD-positive) B cells. The allotype specificity of this inhibition, assessed by using anti-u, allotype reagents to inhibit and assay the responses, suggests that B cells expressing transgenic or endogenous IgM in transgenic B6-Sp6 mice are largely independent populations. These observations establish that anti-IgM antibodies in conjunction with appropriate LPS stimulation, provide a universal model system for functional characterization of B cell responses.