Daunomycin, when conjugated with a targeting antigen by an acid-sensitive spacer, remains inactive at the intravascular pH of 7 but becomes active after cleavage within the acidic lysosomal environment of the target cell. This observation made it possible to construct cytocidal compounds that caused antigen-specific suppression of murine lymphocyte function. When daunomycin was coupled to the hapten conjugate of ovalbumin by an acid-sensitive cis-aconityl group, it caused hapten-specific impairment of immunocompetence in murine B lymphocytes in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, the response by T lymphocytes to concanavalin A in vitro was selectively eliminated by a conjugate between daunomycin plus the acid-sensitive spacer and a monoclonal antibody specific for T cells.