Plasmids were constructed in which expression of genes encoding the heavy and light chains of a hapten-specific IgM antibody is under control of a heat shock promoter. Glioma, phaeochromocytoma and other non-lymphoid cell lines transfected with the plasmids were able to process and secrete immunoglobulin following heat induction. The glioma transfectants were studied in detail and were shown to secrete polymeric IgM in a yield similar to that obtained with a plasmacytoma. However, the glioma IgM was not associated with J chain and was largely composed of pentamers and hexamers. Thus, neither J chain nor other lymphoid-specific proteins are required for assembly and secretion of polymeric IgM although the absence of J chain may encourage hexamer formation.