The murine differentiation marker heat stable antigen (HSA) is a GPI-anchored surface glycoprotein showing strong expression on immature B- and T-lymphocytes and gradually reduced expression during maturation. Although HSA has been suggested to be involved in adhesion and/or signalling, its function has not been clearly demonstrated so far. In order to elucidate the function of HSA, we analysed chimaeric mice that were generated by targeted disruption of both HSA alleles in ES cells. These mice contain normal numbers of peripheral B-cells and normal serum IgM and IgG titres of ES cell-derived allotype, demonstrating that HSA expression on B-cells is not an absolute requirement for their maturation. However, a reduction in immature B-cells in the bone marrow and an altered degree of bone marrow and blood chimaerism suggest that HSA expression influences the maturation of B-cells.