We identify a mutation (D262N) in the erythroid-affiliated transcriptional repressor GFI1B, in an acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patient with antecedent myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The GFI1B-D262N mutant functionally antagonizes the transcriptional activity of wild-type GFI1B. GFI1B-D262N promoted myelomonocytic versus erythroid output from primary human hematopoietic precursors and enhanced cell survival of both normal and MDS derived precursors. Re-analysis of AML transcriptome data identifies a distinct group of patients in whom expression of wild-type GFI1B and SPIT (PU.1) have an inverse pattern. In delineating this GFI1B-SPI1 relationship we show that (i) SPI1 is a direct target of GFI1B, (ii) expression of GFI1B-D262N produces elevated expression of SPI1, and (iii) SPIT-knockdown restores balanced lineage output from GFI1B-D262N-expressing precursors. These results table the SPI1-GFI1B transcriptional network as an important regulatory axis in AML as well as in the development of erythroid versus myelomonocytic cell fate. (C) 2016 Published by Elsevier Inc.