Myelin basic proteins (MBP) are major constituents of the myelin sheath of oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, respectively. We previously showed that MBP-related transcripts are present in the bone marrow and the immune system. These mRNAs are transcribed from a region called 0', consisting of three exons, located upstream of the classical MBP exons; these three exons belong to the long MBP gene otherwise called "Golli-MBP." The most abundant of these mRNAs, now called HMBP (hemopoietic MBP), encompasses the sequence encoded by the region 0' plus exon 1 and part of intron 1 of the classic MBP gene. Antisera to recombinant HMBP proteins are immunoreactive with proteins of about 26-28 kDa in brain, thymus, and spleen. This report demonstrates that HMBP proteins are present in the vast majority (>95%) of thymic T cells, which express the corresponding transcripts, as do mature T cells from lymph nodes and spleen. HMBP mRNAs and proteins are also manifest in the majority of spleen B lymphocytes and in B cell lines. In addition to lymphoid cells, HMBP proteins are in all types of myeloid lineage cells, i.e., macrophages, dendritic cells, and granulocytes, as well as in megakaryocytes and erythroblasts. Finally, HMBP proteins are present in CD34+ bone marrow cells, and, furthermore, in highly proliferative cultures, these CD34+ cells express HMBP RNAs and proteins. Thus, MBP gene products are present both in the nervous system and in the entire hemopoietic system.