The Qa-1 cell surface phenotype reportedly distinguishes two Ly-1 T cell subsets conjointly required for T helper effector activity. Ly-1 cells, obtained from several different priming regimens, were negatively selected with anti-Qa-1 plus complement and compared with unselected Ly-1 cells for helper cell activity. Priming isolated T cells on antigen-pulsed macrophages in the absence of B cells favors the generation of the Ly-1:Qa1- subset, which is capable of efficient helper activity in the absence of the Ly-1:Qa-1+ subset. Priming T cells in an environment containing B cells generates both Ly-1:Qa-1- helper effector cells and Ly-1:Qa-1+ cells which contribute to the helper effect. Whether Ly-1:Qa-1+ cells are capable of independent helper activity cannot be determined, and, as such, Ly-1:Qa-1+ cells are more appropriately termed "help associated" rather than "helper effector." Our results assign a membrane phenotype, Qa-1, which distinguishes an Ly-1 help-associated B cell requiring subset in our system and may prove to be a general marker in a number of systems of Ly-1 inducer cell subsets which functionally require or recognize B cells or their products.