B lymphocytes require appropriate T lymphocyte cooperation to synthesize immunoglobulins (Ig). Such interaction presumably takes place after engagement of the T cell receptor (TcR) by antigen. The present work addresses B lymphocyte function (and phenotype) in a novel type of immunodeficiency which is characterized by a TcR expression defect. In contrast to expectations, the two affected siblings that were studied displayed normal in vivo antibody responses to both endogenous and exogenous protein antigens. However, they showed impaired responses to certain polysaccharide antigens together with a selective IgG2 deficiency. These results suggest that some polysaccharide responses may be more T cell dependent than previously suspected, and support the notion that T cell dysfunctions (of this or other kind), rather than Ig gene deletions, may be the molecular basis of certain IgG2 deficiencies. To rule out a concomitant gross B cell dysfunction in these individuals, B lymphocyte phenotype and function were assayed in vitro, and found to be normal. A T cell line derived from one of the siblings displayed an abnormal TcR on the cell surface, but it showed several normal TcR-mediated functions. This suggests that the low number of peripheral T lymphocytes that have been found to express low TcR levels in these immunodeficiencies may be operational, and supplying sufficient "help" for the observed normal antibody responses to all tested protein, but not polysaccharide, antigens.