A covalent conjugate of avidin with ricin subunit A-chain (avidin-RA) was prepared by using N-succinimidyl 3-(2-pyridyldithio)propionate as a coupling agent. Selective cytotoxic activity after the combined treatment of spleen cells with biotinylated antibody and avidin-RA was demonstrated by the fact that the responsiveness to LPS was selectively abrogated by pretreatment of the cells with biotinylated rabbit anti-mouse immunoglobulin (MIg) antibody, but not with biotinylated anti-Thy-1.2 antibody. Neither the biotinylated antibody alone nor avidin-RA alone was effective in decreasing the responses to mitogens. Moreover, a high anti-DNP PFC response elicited by DNP-KLH-primed BALB/c mouse spleen cells stimulated in vitro with DNP-KLH was mostly abrogated by the pretreatment of the cells with biotinylated anti-MIg antibody and avidin-RA. Again, neither the biotinylated antibody alone nor avidin-RA alone was effective in decreasing the anti-DNP PFC response. This cell-killing method with the use of biotinylated antibody and avidin-RA was applied and evaluated in experimental systems in which the helper action of T cells on B cells was mediated by T cell-replacing factor (TRF) or was performed by the direct interaction of T cells with B cells (cognate interaction). When DNP-KLH-primed splenic B cells, pretreated with biotinylated F(ab')2 fragment of DCF1 male anti-BALB/c-B IgG antibody against acceptor site(s) for TRF followed by treatment with avidin-RA, were stimulated with DNP-OVA in the presence of monoclonal TRF, the anti-DNP PFC response was significantly decreased, whereas the same treated B cells responded well to stimulation with DNP-PPD in the presence of Tbc-primed T cells (cognate interaction). These results indicate that B cells responsible for the cognate interaction and those having TRF acceptor site(s) belong to a distinct subpopulation of B cells, and that the cytocidal action of the noncovalent conjugate of the antibody and RA formed from the biotinylated antibody and avidin-RA via an avidin-biotin complex has immunologic selectivity, eliminating only the latter subset of B cells recognized by the antibody.