We recently isolated from a mouse T cell cDNA library a full-length clone that encodes a mast cell growth factor (1). On the basis of sequence homologies, this cloned factor must be similar if not identical to purified interleukin 3 (IL 3) (2, 3). Here, we report the first biologic characterization of the cloned gene product expressed in COS-7 monkey cells. Our results establish that a single molecular species promotes the growth and differentiation of a wide spectrum of hematopoietic cell types, including multipotential stem cells and various committed progenitor cells. The relationship of cloned IL 3 to other colony-stimulating factors is discussed.