To understand regulation of hemopoiesis, it would be helpful to identify physiologically relevant function-associated molecules on stem cells. Here, we report the detailed examination of CD43 expression on murine and human pluripotent hemopoietic stem cells. Mouse stem cells were found within the Ly6+Lin-CD43high subpopulation of bone marrow. These cells, upon transfer into SCID mice, caused rapid repopulation of thymus, spleen, and bone marrow. Retransfer of bone marrow cells from primary SCID recipients of Ly6+Lin-CD43high cells into secondary recipients resulted in repopulation of lymphohemopoietic cells. All Ly6+Lin-CD43high cells were found to express high levels of c-kit. In contrast, Ly6+Lin-CD43-/low cells caused limited and variable thymic and splenic repopulation. These cells failed to repopulate the marrow cavity and did not contain retransplantable stem cells. These data indicate that murine pluripotent stem cells express high levels of CD43. Examination of human fetal bone marrow cells revealed a population of CD34+CD38-CD43+ cells. When single sorted cells with this phenotype were cultured in vitro, they were able to produce colonies with a dispersed growth pattern. Cells with this growth pattern have previously been shown to have myeloid and lymphoid growth potentials and extensive self-renewal capacity. Furthermore, CD34+CD38-HLA-DR+ cells, recently shown to be highly enriched in stem cell activity, expressed relatively high levels of CD43. Because CD43 has recently been shown to bind to intercellular adhesion molecule-1, these data suggest a possible role for CD43 in the regulation of hemopoiesis.