Shared idiotypy between B- and T-cell receptors specific for the antigen L-tyrosine-p-azophenyltrimethylammonium [tyr(TMA)] was studied in an antigen-binding assay using idiotypic antisera. These idiotypic reagents were prepared by inoculation of rabbits with purified anti-tyr(TMA) antibody raised in strain 13 guinea pigs. The antisera blocked 78-83% of the antigen-binding T cells (T-ABC) and 50-55% of the antigen-binding B cells (B-ABC) from tyr(TMA)-immune strain 13 and outbred lymph node cells (LNC). An excess of normal guinea pig Ig in the ABC assay did not affect the ability of the idiotypic antisera to block T- and B-ABC. Nylon wool-passed tyr(TMA)-immune LNC were trypsin treated resulting in a 75% loss of T-ABC. The trypsin-treated population was then cultured for 16 h which resulted in a return of T-ABC to 92% of pretrypsin values. 77% of these regenerated T-ABC could be blocked with idiotypic antisera. Specificity of the idiotypic antisera was tested in L-tyrosine-p-azobenzenearsonate-immune guinea pig LNC. Neither T- nor B-ABC were blocked in this heterologous system. Further blocking experiments were performed to characterize the nature of the T-ABC receptor. A variety of anti-Ig reagents, some of which block B-ABC, do not inhibit T-ABC suggesting that variable regions on T cells are not linked to Ig Constant regions.