The B-cell antigen receptors consist of membrane immunoglobulins (mIgs) noncovalently associated with two accessory proteins, MB-1 and Ig-beta. We used transfection into a nonlymphoid cell line to test whether MB-1 and Ig-beta were sufficient to promote cell surface expression of mIgM capable of signal transduction. Expression of MB-1 and Ig-beta, but not MB-1 alone, allowed high-level surface expression of mIgM in the AtT20 endocrine cell line, which presumably lacks other B-cell-specific components. The reconstituted antigen receptor was capable of mediating some of the signaling reactions characteristic of mIgM in B lymphocytes. Crosslinking mIgM on transfected AtT20 cells stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of MB-1 and Ig-beta and also increased the amount of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity that could be precipitated with anti-phosphotyrosine antibodies. When total cell lysates were analyzed by anti-phosphotyrosine immunoblotting, however, no induced phosphorylation of more abundant proteins was detected. Moreover, crosslinking of the receptor in AtT20 cells did not stimulate inositol phospholipid breakdown. Thus, the transfected B-cell antigen receptor could initiate some signal transduction events but AtT20 cells may lack components required for other signaling events associated with mIgM.