In this review, we summarize the subunit structure of the interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 receptor system and the molecular mechanism of signals through the cytokine receptor systems. We have demonstrated that two different forms of IL-4R exist, classical and alternative. Classical IL-4R is predominantly expressed in hematopoietic cells and consists of IL-4R p140 (beta) and IL-2R gamma (gamma c) chains. The alternative form of IL-4R is predominantly expressed in nonhematopoietic cells and consists of IL-4R beta and IL-13R alpha' chains. Moreover, the alternative form of IL-4R is also used as a functional component in the IL-13R complex. For signal transduction through IL-4R and IL-13R, we have demonstrated that in nonhematopoietic cells, Janus protein tyrosine kinase (JAK) 2 is phosphorylated and activated instead of JAK3 tyrosine kinase. While JAK3 is required for signal transducer and activator of transcription-6 (STAT6) activation in hematopoietic cells, we recently demonstrated that in nonhematopoietic cells JAK2 is required for STAT6 activation for the alternative form of IL-4R. Thus, a major difference exists between hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells with regard to structure and signal transduction through the IL-4R and IL-13R systems.