The development of B cells is accompanied by their ability to specifically enter the peripheral lymphoid tissues. Recently, we described a novel rat monoclonal antibody (IBL-2; IgG2b/k reacting with a 26/29-kD heterodimeric structure of the cell surface. This mAb has been found to recognize differentially the peripheral B cells of mice depending on their tissue origin. The majority of splenic B cells as well as the mature B cells in the bone marrow were stained with this mAb, whereas the B lymphocytes isolated from LN or Peyer's patches displayed only negligible reactivity. We extended these observations by analyzing the relationship between the expression of IBL-2 antigen and L-selection on the surface of B-cell precursors in the bone marrow by multiparameter flow cytometry. Within the B220 positive compartment, a significant difference of L-selectin expression could be observed between the various IBL-2-reactive subsets. Furthermore, we investigated whether evidences for the establishment of tissue-associated phenotypic heterogeneity similar to that found in normal mice could be found upon the adoptive transfer of normal unselected splenic lymphocytes into SCID recipients (Spl-SCID). It has been found that a large part of the splenic B cells preserved their IBL-2 reactivity, whereas the LN B cells had lost the IBL-2 antigen in Spl-SCID. These data indicate that the phenotypic difference within the SCID mice may be the result of the migration of B lymphocytes from the spleen toward the lymph nodes, and the altered expression of the IBL-2 antigen correlates with this process.