T cell subsets from virgin and immunized mice, which are Ir gene controlled nonresponders to GAT, which regulate antibody responses to GAT have been characterized. Virgin nonresponder B10.Q B cells develop GAT-specific antibody responses to GAT, B10.Q GAT-MΦ, and GAT-MBSA when cultured with virgin or GAT-primed Lyt-1+, I-J-, Qa1- B10.Q helper T cells. Virgin T cells are radiosensitive, whereas immune T cells are radioresistant (750 R); qualitatively identical helper activity is obtained with T cells from mice immunized with soluble GAT, B10.Q GAT-MΦ, and GAT-MBSA. Responses to GAT and GAT-MΦ are not observed when virgin or GAT-primed Lyt-1+, I-J+, Qa1+ T cells are added to culture of virgin or GAT-primed Lyt-1+, I-J-, Qa1- helper T cells and virgin B cells; the GAT-specific response to GAT-MBSA is intact. The Lyt-1+, I-J+, Qal+ T cells from mice primed with GAT, GAT-MΦ, and GAT-MBSA were qualitatively identical in mediating this suppression. Virgin Lyt-2+ T cells have no suppressive activity alone or with virgin Lyt-1+, I-J+, Qa1+ T cells, whereas responses to GAT, GAT-MΦ, and GAT-MBSA are suppressed in cultures of GAT-primed helper T cells containing GAT-primed Lyt-2+ T cells (with or without GAT-primed Lyt-1+, I-J+, Qa1+ T cells). Suppression of responses to GAT-MBSA in cultures of GAT-MΦ-primed helper T cells requires both GAT-M∅-primed Lyt-1+, I-J+, Qa1+ T cells and Lyt-2+ cells; the Lyt-1+, I-J+, Qa1+ T cells appear to function as inducer cells in this case. In cultures containing GAT-MBSA-primed helper T cells, either GAT-MBSA-primed Lyt-1+, I-J+, Qa1+ or Lyt-2+ T cells suppress responses to GAT and GAT-MΦ; under no circumstances are responses to GAT-MBSA suppressed by GAT-MBSA-primed regulatory T cells. This regulation of antibody responses to GAT by suppressor T cells is discussed in the context of the involvement of suppressor T cells in response to antigens under Ir control, and of the evidence that nonresponsiveness to GAT is not due to a defect in the T cell repertoire, but rather is due to an imbalance in the activation of suppressor vs helper T cells.