An increase in mRNA encoding the secretory form of the mu heavy (H) chain (mus) and in the ratio of mus mRNA to the mRNA encoding the membrane form of the microH chain (micron) occurs in normal B cells stimulated with anti-IgM and BSF-p1 together with the two B cell differentiation factors B15-TRF and EL-TRF. Stimulation of cells with anti-IgM and BSF-p1 with either B15- or EL-TRF causes no change in mus levels or mus/micron ratios. The requirements for induction of high rate IgM synthesis in normal B cells stimulated with anti-IgM were precisely the same as those required for elevation of mus, mRNA levels and for increase in mus/micron mRNA ratios. A very close correlation also exists between induction of mRNA for J chain and increase in mus mRNA levels. Similarly, the increase in J chain protein concentration and percent of cells with cytoplasmic IgM were correlated to each other and to levels of mus and J chain mRNA. These results indicate that elevation of mus mRNA and mus/micron mRNA ratios occur in normal B cells only upon commitment to IgM synthesis, and reaffirm the close relation between IgM synthesis and the presence of J chain.