We are interested to know whether expression of a lineage-specific growth factor receptor is deterministic to lineage commitment during hematopoiesis. For this purpose, we introduced the human c-fms gene into the multipotential stem cell clone LyD9 and two myeloid progenitor clones, L-GM3 and L-G3, cells that differentiate in response to granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and granulocyte (G)-CSF, respectively. Although LyD9 cells have differentiation potential to become macrophages, c-fms transfectants of LyD9 and L-GM3 cells did not differentiate in response to human macrophage (M)-CSF. However, c-fms transfectants of L-G3 cells differentiated to neutrophils in response to human M-CSF. These results indicate that the M-CSF receptor requires a specific signal transduction pathway to exert its differentiational and proliferative effects. Furthermore, the M-CSF receptor can convey a granulocyte-type differentiation signal possibly by cooperating with the G-CSF receptor signal transduction pathway. The c-fms-transfected LyD9 cells as well as the original LyD9 cells differentiated predominantly into GM-CSF- and G-CSF-responsive cells by coculturing with PA6 and ST2 stromal cells, respectively. The results indicate that differentiation lineage is not affected by premature expression of the M-CSF receptor. Instead, the stromal cell used for coculture apparently controls lineage-selective differentiation of the multi-potential stem cell line.