Tyrosine and glycine constitute 40% of complementarity determining region 3 of the immunoglobulin heavy chain (CDR-H3), the center of the classic antigen-binding site. To assess the role of DH RF1-encoded tyrosine and glycine in regulating CDR-H3 content and potentially influencing B cell function, we created mice limited to a single DH encoding asparagine, histidine, and arginines in RF1. Tyrosine and glycine content in CDR-H3 was halved. Bone marrow and spleen mature B cell and peritoneal cavity B-1 cell numbers were also halved, whereas marginal zone B cell numbers increased. Serum immunoglobulin G subclass levels and antibody titers to T-dependent and T-independent antigens all declined. Thus, violation of the conserved preference for tyrosine and glycine in DH RF1 alters CDR-H3 content and impairs B cell development and antibody production. JEM © The Rockefeller University Press.