Previous work has established that the v-erbA oncogene inhibits the temperature-induced differentiation of chick erythroblasts transformed with temperature-sensitive oncogene mutants. Here we demonstrate that v-erbA in differentiating erythroblasts specifically arrests expression of the erythrocyte anion transporter (band 3) gene at the transcriptional level. The v-erbA-induced differentiation block can be overcome by inducing cells to differentiate at alkaline pH. Under these conditions, which possibly impair biological activity of v-erbA, the maturing cells now express the anion transporter gene at high levels. However, its transcription is specifically and rapidly suppressed if v-erbA activity is restored by culturing the cells at neutral pH. Similar but less pronounced inhibition of gene expression by v-erbA was observed for the delta-amino-levulinic acid synthase gene. Additional evidence obtained with an inhibitor of band 3 activity suggests that the v-erbA-induced inhibition of band 3 gene expression is at least partly responsible for the differentiation block caused by this oncogene.