We have constructed two fusion proteins, DAB389-mIL-3 and DAB389-(Gly4Ser)2-mIL-3, in which the receptor-binding domain of diphtheria toxin is replaced by mouse interleukin-3 (IL-3). Cytotoxic activity of the fusion toxins was observed on three out of six cell lines assayed. This toxicity was mediated through binding to the IL-3 receptor as it was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner with murine IL-3 or anti-IL-3 neutralizing antibodies. DAB389-(Gly4Ser)2-mIL-3 was up to 5 times more toxic than DAB389-mIL-3, depending on the cell line (0.8 x 10(-10) M < IC50 < 3 x 10(-10) M). These proteins can be used for the detection of IL-3 receptors on mouse cells and should allow for the selective elimination of IL-3 receptor-positive pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells prior to bone marrow transplantation.