Murine long-term bone marrow cultures that support B-lymphoid-cell development were infected with a helper-free retrovirus containing the v-fms oncogene. Infection of B-lymphoid cultures resulted in the rapid clonal outgrowth of early pre-B cells, which grew to high cell densities on stromal cell feeder layers, expressed v-fms-coded glycoproteins, and underwent immunoglobulin heavy-chain gene rearrangements. Late-passage cultures gave rise to factor-independent variants that proliferated in the absence of feeder layers, developed resistance to hydrocortisone, and became tumorigenic in syngeneic mice. The v-fms oncogene therefore recapitulates known effects of the v-abl and bcr-abl oncogenes on B-lineage cells. The ability of v-fms to induce transformation of early pre-B cells in vitro underscores the capacity of oncogenic mutants of the colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor to function outside the mononuclear phagocyte lineage.