The quantitative simultaneous description of both variable region gene usage and antigen specificity of immunoglobulin repertoires is a major goal in immunology. Current quantitative assays are labor intensive and depend on extensive gene expression cloning prior to screening for antigen specificity. Here we describe an alternative method based on high efficiency single B cell cultures coupled with RT-PCR that can be used for rapid characterization of immunoglobulin gene segment usage, clonal size and antigen specificity. This simplified approach should facilitate the study of antibody repertoires expressed by defined B cell subpopulations, the analysis of immune responses to self and nonself-antigens, the development and screening of synthetic antibodies and the accelerated study and screening of neutralizing antibodies to pathogenic threats. © 2011.