The diphtheria toxin A chain (DTA) was gene targeted into the Joining chain (J chain) locus to create a mouse strain selecting against J chain-expressing cells, JDTA mice. Serum immunoglobulin (Ig)M and serum IgG were reduced six to eightfold, while serum IgA was elevated 14-fold in these mice. JDTA mice were immune competent although the serum Ig response compared with wild-type mice was reduced sixfold at day 14 but only fourfold at day 45 after immunization. Exchanging the DTA gene with a cDNA for c-myc resulted in mice with a distinct phenotype with increased Ig production and enhanced humoral immune responses. Analysis of single B cells stimulated by lipopolysaccharide in vitro using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction showed that J chain-nonexpressing B cells could be detected that had a secretory phenotype as determined by an abundance of transcript for secretory IgM. Finally, limiting dilution analysis of peripheral B cells showed that J chain expression was a clonal property already established in naive, peripheral B lymphocytes.