AML-1B is targeted directly and indirectly in multiple chromosomal translocations in myeloid and B-cells. The AML-1/ETO and TEL/AML-1 fusion proteins, created by the t(8;21) and t(12;21) respectively, disrupt AML-1B-dependent transcription. Recently, two human members of the runt homology domain family of transcription factors have been identified, AML-2 and AML-3, which also regulate transcription through enhancer core motifs. If multiple factors regulate transcription through the same site, a dominant interfering protein may be required to promote leukemogenesis, rather than the inactivation of both AML1 alleles. To determine which AML family proteins are active in hematopoietic cells, we developed antisera specific to each family member for use in gel mobility shift assays. We have found that AML-1B is the major DNA binding activity in T-cell lines, while both AML-1B and AML-2 are expressed in myeloid and B-cell lines. AML-1B represents most of the active protein in the mouse thymus, whereas AML-1 and AML-2 are equally expressed in the mouse spleen. AML-3 is expressed at very low levels in a single myeloid cell line, 32D.3, and is the only core binding activity present in Buffalo rat liver cells. We demonstrate that AML-2-dependent transactivation mediated by enhancer core motifs is inhibited by the AML-1/ETO and TEL/AML-1 fusion proteins. This indicates that the t(8;21) and t(12;21) fusion proteins inhibit transcriptional activation by the AML-1 transcription factor family, and in so doing contributes to leukemogenesis.