The isolation and characterization of a temperature-sensitive mutant (ts1 S13) of the avian erythroblastosis virus, S13, is described. The temperature-sensitive lesion in ts1 S13 was identified as affecting the tyrosine kinase activity but not the plasma membrane localization of the ts1 S13 v-sea gene product. Erythroblasts transformed by ts1 S13 can be induced to synchronously differentiate into erythrocytes in an erythropoietin (EPO)-dependent fashion. Analysis of erythrocyte-specific gene expression in ts1 S13 erythroblasts reveals that the transformed, self-renewing erythroblasts obtained at permissive temperature already express all erythrocyte genes tested for, although at a low level. Upon differentiation induction, expression of erythrocyte-specific genes is not coordinately regulated but rather involves complex regulatory mechanisms that appear to be specific for the individual genes.