Using mice transgenic for functional, rearranged immunoglobulin heavy and light chain genes, it can be demonstrated that B lymphocytes reactive with cell surface-bound class I MHC antigen can be controlled by clonal elimination. Even low-affinity cell-bound ligands can induce deletion. Deletion can occur in the pre-B to B cell transitional stage or after the B cells exist the bone marrow, depending on where the cells first encounter autoantigen. IgD appears to play no role in protecting cells from deletion. It is argued that defects in B-cell tolerance alone may be sufficient to lead to systemic autoimmunity.