Monoclonal hybridoma antibodies to the human IgA subclasses were produced by immunizing mice with purified myeloma proteins. These antibodies were shown to be specific for the appropriate IgA subclass by enzyme-linked immunoabsorbant assay (ELISA) and by immunofluorescent staining of myeloma plasma cells and B cells from normal individuals. These antibodies were used to demonstrate age-related shifts in the proportions of IgA1- and IgA2-bearing B cells that could be correlated with 3 distinct staining patterns. In the newborn equal numbers of IgA1 and IgA2, B cells were found. These cells had only small amounts of surface IgA in a patchy distribution. They also expressed surface IgM. In the infant, large lymphoblastoid cells were observed that bore more IgA in a homogeneous pattern but did not express IgM. Of these cells, 98% were positive for IgA1. In the adult, 80% of the IgA B cells were positive for surface IgA1, and 20% were positive for IgA2. These were small lymphocytes brightly stained for IgA and negative for IgM. In culture, the adult B cells responding to pokeweed gave rise to roughly equal numbers of IgA1 and IgA2 plasma cells. These results suggest that there are equal numbers of precursor cells for IgA1 and IgA2 whose expansion, further differentiation, and migration are selectively affected by immunoregulatory controls.