The mouse Pim-1 gene encodes two cytoplasmic serine-threonine-specific protein kinases. The gene has been found to be activated (overexpressed) by retroviral insertion in hematopoietic tumors in mice. Transgenic mice that overexpress Pim-1 (E mu-Pim-1) have a low incidence of spontaneous T-cell lymphomas and an increased susceptibility to Moloney murine leukemia virus and N-ethyl-N- nitrosourea-induced lymphomas. Apart from a slight enlargement of the spleen, no abnormalities were found in prelymphomatous transgenic mice. Inactivation of the Pim-1 gene in the germline of mice resulted in mice with a surprisingly subtle phenotype. Therefore, we investigated whether subtle effects of the absence of Pim-1 could be made visible during in vitro culturing of hematopoietic cells. We found that bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMC) lacking Pim-1 had a distinct growth disadvantage when grown on interleukin (IL)-3, but not when stimulated by the factors IL-4, IL-9, or Steel factor (SF). This indicates a role for Pim-1 as a modulator of the IL-3 signal transduction pathway.