An elucidation of the interaction between the bone marrow microenvironment and hematopoietic stem cells is critical to the understanding of the molecular basis of stem cell self renewal and differentiation. This interaction is dependent, at least in part, on direct cell to cell contact or cellular adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins. Long-term bone marrow cultures (LTMC) provide an appropriate microenvironment for maintenance of primitive hematopoietic stem cells and a means of analyzing this stem cell-stromal cell interaction in vitro. Although LTMC have been successfully generated from murine and human bone marrow, only limited success has been reported in a primate system. In addition, few permanent stromal cell lines are available from nonmurine bone marrow. Because the primate has become a useful model for large animal bone marrow transplant studies and, more specifically, retroviral-mediated gene transfer analysis, we have generated immortalized bone marrow stromal cell lines from primate bone marrow using gene transfer of the Simian virus large T (SV40 LT) antigen. At least one stromal cell line has demonstrated the capacity to maintain early hematopoietic cells in long-term cultures for up to 4 weeks as measured by in vitro progenitor assays. Studies were undertaken to characterize the products of extracellular matrix biosynthesis and growth factor synthesis of this cell line, designated PU-34. In contrast to most murine bone marrow-derived stromal cell lines capable of supporting hematopoiesis in vitro that have been examined, the extracellular matrix produced by this primate cell line includes collagen types I, laminin. Growth factor production analyzed through RNA blot analysis, bone marrow cell culture data, and factor-dependent cell line proliferation assays includes interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-7, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), G-CSF, M-CSF, leukemia inhibitory factor, and a novel cytokine designated IL-11. This immortalized primate bone marrow stromal cell line may be useful in maintaining early progenitor cells for experimental manipulation without the loss of reconstituting capacity and as a potential source of novel hematopoietic growth factors.