Activation of the Jak/STAT pathway by cytokines has been shown to regulate differentiation, proliferation or apoptosis in hematopoeitic cells. Among the Stat proteins, STAT5 is activated by a broad range of cytokines. In order to study the role of STAT5 in hematopoietic cells, we stably expressed a dominant negative form of STAT5 (STAT5A delta749) in the IL-3 dependent bone marrow derived Ba/F3 cell line. Ba/F3 cells expressing STAT5A delta749 were found to be more sensitive to apoptosis than parental or control Ba/F3 cells after IL-3 withdrawal. Analysis of the expression of the cell death regulators, Bcl-2 and Bcl-x, revealed that the level of Bcl-x was lower in Ba/F3 cells expressing STAT5A delta749 than in control cells. IL-3 regulation of Bcl-x expression at protein and mRNA levels was impaired in these cells while that of Bcl-2 expression was unaffected. We further demonstrated that the Bcl-x gene promoter contained a proximal STAT consensus sequence that bound STAT5. Transactivation of a Bcl-x gene promoter reporter construct by STAT5 was observed in Ba/F3 cells. Introduction of a mutation in the STAT binding site abolished this transactivation. These data indicate that Bcl-x is probably a STAT5 target gene. They also support the involvement of STAT5 in hematopoietic cell survival.