Signaling through the IL-7 receptor (IL-7R) is necessary for the development of the earliest B- and T-lineage cells. IL-7R is first expressed on common lymphoid progenitor cells and is not detected on primitive common myeloid progenitors. In this study, we show that enforced expression of IL-7R on multipotential stem cells does not influence lymphoid versus myeloid cell fate. T cell development was compatible with sustained IL-7R expression; however, we observed a near complete block in B cell development at the onset of B-lineage commitment. Unlike pre-proB cells from control animals, developmentally-arrested IL-7R+B220+CD19 -NK1.1-Ly-6C- cells failed to express EBF and Pax5. These results suggest that transient downregulation of IL-7R signaling is a necessary event for induction of EBF and Pax5 expression and B-lymphocyte commitment.