A new erythroblastic leukemia cell line (EEB) was established from a patient with early erythroblastic leukemia. The cells had features of immature erythroblasts, including an agranular basophilic cytoplasm and CD36, CD71, CD175s (sialyl-Tn) and CD235a (glycophorin A) expression without CD41 expression, myeloperoxidase activity and platelet-peroxidase activity. The cells were confirmed to be of the erythroid lineage based on expression of the gamma-globin message. They were induced to differentiate into benzidine-positive cells by hemin and delta-amino levulinic acid (delta-ALA). An analysis of cell membrane lipids showed that EEB cells contain a type of glycerolipid, phosphatidylglucose (PhGlc), but not unbranched type 2 chains, i antigens. GL-7 which is a recombinant Fab fragment of GL-2 and binds to PhGlc, induced production of hemoglobin F (HbF) associated with accumulation of the gamma-globin (gamma-globin) message in EEB cells. The GL-7-mediated erythroid differentiation was associated with apoptosis. These results suggest that direct signaling to PhGlc mediates erythroid differentiation and apoptosis in EEB cells.