Previous studies demonstrated that naturally occurring antibodies to the pneumococcal cell wall hapten phosphocholine (PC) are important for the survival of mice against infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae, and that passively administered hybridoma antibody to PC results in added resistance. To determine if a PC-protein conjugate could elicit protective levels of anti-PC antibody, mice were immunized with PC-keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) and tested for their ability to resist challenge with virulent S. pneumoniae. PC-KLH-immunized mice were observed to be resistant to 10- to 1000-fold more organisms than unimmunized control animals. The levels of protection were comparable to those induced with capsular polysaccharide antigens, but had the advantage of not being type-specific; immunization with PC-KLH protected mice against both type 1 and type 3 organisms. The induced immunity appeared to be antibody-mediated; it could be passively transferred with immune serum, and absorption of the immune serum with PC-Sepharose removed its protective capacity. Anti-PC antibodies in the serum of immunized mice were primarily IgM and IgG3 and possessed predominantly the T15 idiotype. Antibodies with these particular isotypes and this idiotype also arise after immunization with heat-killed rough pneumococci and recently were shown to be important in the resistance of mice to pneumococcal infection.