The findings presented in this study provide evidence that BSF1 receptors and mIg transmit signals via dissimilar transduction mechanisms that result in a common biologic response, hyper-Ia expression. Specifically, BSF1-containing supernatant does not induce PtdInsP2 hydrolysis as determined by measurement of PtdOH and InsP3. Additionally, BSF1 does not stimulate Ca2+ mobilization, PKC translocation from cytosol to membrane, or membrane depolarization. All of these metabolic events appear to play a central role in hyper-Ia expression mediated by mIg and are initiated after treatment of resting B cells with anti-Ig antibodies. In vitro phosphorylation studies with partially purified plasma membranes from resting B cells revealed that BSF1 interaction with membrane receptors stimulates a membrane-associated protein kinase that phoshorylates an endogenous protein of 44 KDa. Anti-Ig does not stimulate phosphorylation of the 44 KDa protein, suggesting that it does not activate the membrane-associated protein kinase. This observation provides the first evidence of a signal transduction mechanism associated with BSF1-receptor ligation. It indicates that although BSF1 does not modulate events associated with PKC activation, it may function via activation of a membrane-associated protein kinase. This provides a focal point for further studies directed at elucidating signal transduction resulting from BSF1-receptor interaction.