The infectious complex of Abelson murine leukemia virus was altered by replacing its usual helper virus, Moloney leukemia virus, with radiation leukemia virus (RadLV). After intrathymic injection of the Abelson-RadLV complex, thymomas arose rapidly, as described previously for injection of the Abelson-Moloney complex. Cell lines were derived from thymomas induced by each Abelson virus complex and were classified according to normal thymus cell phenotypes. Each virus complex induced some cell lines which were like a 0.7% subpopulation of murine thymocytes in that they failed to express the Thy-1 cell-surface antigen. These lines are thus far indistinguishable from some Abelson-derived bone marrow transformants classified as pre-B cells. However, the Abelson-Moloney complex induced some cell lines which expressed low levels of Thy-1 and which shared most markers with immature blast cells of the thymic medulla, whereas the Abelson-RadLV complex induced some lines which were clearly like thymic cortex blast cells. Thus, Abelson virus can induce thymoma cell lines of at least two, and possibly three, distinct phenotypes corresponding to normal thymocyte blast subsets, the determination of which can be influenced by helper virus sequences.