Erythropoietin (Epo), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor- (G-CSF) dependent cell lines have been derived from the murine hematopoietic cell line 32D with a selection strategy involving the culture of the cells in FBS-deprived medium supplemented only with pure recombinant Epo, GM-CSF, or G-CSF. The cells retain the diploid karyotype of the original 32D clone, do not grow in the absence of exogenous growth factor, and do not induce tumors when injected into syngeneic recipients. The morphology of the Epo-dependent cell lines (32D Epo1, -2, and -3) was heterogeneous and evolved with passage. The percent of differentiated cells also was a function of the cell line investigated. Benzidine-positive cells ranged from 1-2% (32D Epo3) to 50-60% (32D Epo1). These erythroid cells expressed carbonic anhydrase I and/or globin mRNA but not carbonic anhydrase II. The GM-CSF- and G-CSF-dependent cell lines had predominantly the morphology of undifferentiated myeloblasts or metamyelocytes, respectively. The GM-CSF-dependent cell lines were sensitive to either GM-CSF or interleukin-3 (IL-3) but did not respond to G-CSF. The G-CSF-dependent cell lines grew to a limited extent in IL-3 but did not respond to GM-CSF. These results indicate that the cell line 32D, originally described as predominantly a basophil/mast cell line, has retained the capacity to give rise to cells which proliferate and differentiate in response to Epo, GM-CSF, and/or G-CSF. These cells represent the first nontransformed cell lines which can be maintained in growth factors other than IL-3 and which differentiate in the presence of physiologic signals. As such, they may represent a model to study the molecular mechanisms underlying the process of hematopoietic differentiation, as well as sensitive targets for bioassays of specific growth factors.