In hematopoiesis, co-expression of Sca-1 and c-Kit defines cells (LS(+)K) with long term reconstituting potential. In contrast, poorly characterized LS(-)K cells fail to reconstitute lethally irradiated recipients. Relative quantification mass spectrometry and transcriptional profiling were used to characterize LS(+)K and LS(-)K cells. This approach yielded data on >1200 proteins. Only 32 of protein changes correlated to mRNA modulation demonstrating post-translational protein regulation in early hematopoietic development. LS(+)K cells had lower expression of protein synthesis proteins but did express proteins associated with mature cell function. Major increases in erythroid development proteins were observed in LS(-)K cells; based on this assessment of erythroid potential we showed them to be principally erythroid progenitors, demonstrating effective use of discovery proteomics for definition of primitive cells.