The proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) has been linked to inflammation- and cancer-related anemia, which reduces both quality of life and prognosis of patients. The aim of this study was to reveal molecular mechanisms linked to the inhibition of erythroid differentiation by TNFalpha. In this study, we showed that the inhibition of erythropoietin (Epo)-mediated differentiation by TNFalpha lead to a downregulation of hemoglobin synthesis and was correlated to a modulation of key erythroid transcription factors. Thus, a reverse of the transcription factor GATA-1/GATA-2 balance normally present during erythropoiesis, as well as a downregulation of the cofactor of GATA-1, friend of GATA-1 (FOG-1), and the coregulating transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2 (NF-E2) was observed after TNFalpha treatment. Moreover, we showed a reduction of GATA-1/FOG-1 interaction due to a reduced transcription of GATA-1 and a proteasome-dependent FOG-1 degradation after TNFalpha treatment. These changes led to an inhibition of erythroid gene expression including Epo receptor (EpoR), alpha- and gamma-globin, erythroid-associated factor (ERAF), hydroxymethylbilane synthetase (HMBS), and glycophorin A (GPA). An analysis of distinct signaling pathway activations then revealed an activation of p38 by TNF, as well as a corresponding involvement of this mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in the cytokine-dependent inhibition of erythroid differentiation. Indeed the p38 inhibitor, SB203580, abrogated the inhibitory effect of TNFalpha on the major erythroid transcription factor GATA-1 as well as erythroid marker expression in Epo-induced TF-1 cells. Overall, these data contribute to a better understanding of cytokine-dependent anemia, by giving first hints about key erythroid transcription factor modulations after TNFalpha treatment as well as an involvement of p38 in the inhibition of erythroid differentiation.