Id is a helix-loop-helix (HLH) protein that represses activity of several basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins involved in cell type--specific transcription and cell lineage commitment. The myeloid precursor cell line 32DC13(G) expressed Id messenger RNA, which was transiently decreased when cells were induced to terminally differentiate with granulocyte--colony-stimulating factor. Concomitant with the decrease of Id messenger RNA was the appearance in nuclear extracts of DNA binding proteins that recognized a canonical E-box motif, a DNA binding site for some bHLH proteins. Constitutive expression of an Id complementary DNA in 32DC13(G) cells blocked their ability to differentiate and to induce E-box-binding activity. These results suggest that Id and, hence, bHLH proteins function in the process of myeloid differentiation.