CD34 is expressed on human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, and its clinical usefulness for the purification of stem cells has been well established. However, a similar pattern of expression for murine CD34 (mCD34) has not yet been determined. Two polyclonal anti-mCD34 antibodies that specifically recognize both endogenous and recombinant murine CD34 were developed to characterize the mCD34 protein and to determine its pattern of expression on murine cell lines and hematopoietic progenitor cells. Fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis showed that mCD34 is expressed on NIH/3T3 embryonic fibroblasts, PA6 stromal cells, embryonic stem cells, M1 leukemia cells, and a subpopulation of normal bone marrow cells. Murine CD34 was found to be a glycoprotein expressed on the cell surface as either a full-length (approximately 100 kD) or truncated (approximately 90 kD) protein in NIH/3T3 and PA6 cells. Recombinant full-length CD34, when expressed in the CHO-K1 cell line, had a molecular weight of approximately 105 kD. Full-length CD34 expressed on M1 leukemia cells, had a higher apparent molecular weight (110 kD). These results suggest that there are glycosylation differences between CD34 expressed by different cell types. The full-length form, but not the truncated form, is a phosphoprotein that is hyperphosphorylated in response to 12-0-Tetradecanoyl phorbol 13-acetate treatment, suggesting potential functional differences between the two forms. Selection of the 3% highest-expressing CD34+ bone marrow cells enriched for the hematopoietic precursors that form colony-forming unit-spleen (CFU-S), CFU-granulocyte-macrophage, and burst-forming unit-erythroid. Transplantation of lethally irradiated mice with these cells demonstrated both short- and long-term repopulating ability, indicating that this population contains both functional hematopoietic progenitors and the putative stem cell. These antibodies should be useful to select for murine hematopoietic stem cells.