In vivo Ig responses to soluble, haptenated polysaccharide (PS) Ags are T cell independent and do not require CD40 ligand (CD40L). However, little is known regarding the regulation of in vivo PS-specific Ig responses to intact bacteria. We immunized mice with a nonencapsulated, type 2 Streptococcus pneumoniae (R36A) and compared the parameters that regulated in vivo Ig isotype responses to the bacterial cell wall C-PS determinant, phosphorylcholine (PC), relative to Ig responses to the cell wall protein, pneumococcal surface protein A. Consistent with previous reports using soluble PS and protein Ags, the anti-PC and anti-pneumococcal surface protein A responses differed in that the anti-PC response was induced more rapidly, had a distinctive Ig isotype profile, and failed to demonstrate boosting upon secondary challenge with R36A. However, in contrast to previous studies, the IgG anti-PC response was TCR-alphabeta+ T cell dependent, required CD40L, and was blocked by administration of CTLA4 Ig. The nature of the T cell help for the anti-PC response had distinct features in that it was only partially blocked by CTLA4 Ig and was dependent upon both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Surprisingly, whereas the IgM anti-PC response was largely T cell independent, a strong requirement for CD40L was still observed, suggesting the possibility of an in vivo T cell-independent source for CD40L-dependent help. These data suggest that the regulatory parameters that govern in vivo Ig responses to purified, soluble PS Ags may not adequately account for PS-specific Ig responses to intact bacteria.