Erythropoiesis is regulated by the hematopoietic microenvironment of the spleen and fetal liver in mice. We showed that established stromal cells of these organs selectively support erythropoiesis in vitro. To identify the cell surface molecule(s) on the stromal cells involved in erythropoiesis, we raised monoclonal antibodies against the stromal cells. Using one of these antibodies (11D), we cloned a new gene named smap-1 (stroma membrane-associated protein-1). The SMAP-1 protein deduced from the nucleotide sequence of the cDNA was a newly identified membrane protein with direct repeats of the KKD/E units found in MAP1A and MAP1B, which is involved in the association with microtubules. By transfection of the anti-sense smap-1 cDNA into the stromal cells, we showed that SMAP-1 may have a stimulatory effect on stroma-supported erythropoiesis. Its expression was detected in the yolk sac, fetal liver, spleen, and bone marrow, and was correlated with their erythropoietic activity.