Under defined conditions, papain removes IgD from cells while leaving IgM, H-2, Ia, Lyb-2, and complement receptor intact. The effect of such treatment with papain on the induction of tolerance in murine splenic B cells was determined in an in vitro system. Treatment of the cells with papain has no effect on subsequent antibody responsiveness presumably because surface receptors regenerate before and during incubation with immunogen. Removal of increasing amounts of IgD results in increasing susceptibility of thymus-dependent responsive cells to tolerance induction. The tolerance susceptibility of thymus-independent responsive cells, which we have previously suggested are immature cells that bear only IgM, is unaffected by cleavage of IgD. If cells are incubated for 24 h after treatment with papain, cell surface IgD and tolerance resistance return. These results indicate that a surface molecule affects susceptibility of B cells to induction of tolerance and suggest that this molecule may be IgD.