Cells of the immune system communicate with each other to initiate, establish and maintain immune responses. The communication occurs through cell-to-cell contact or through a variety of intercellular mediators that include cytokines, chemokines, growth factors and hormones. In the case of cytokines, the signal is transmitted from the outside to the inside of a cell through cell surface receptors specific for each cytokine. At this step the signal is also decoded and amplified: ligand binding causes recruitment and/or activation of numerous cytoplasmic proteins. One cytokine can activate a number of signal transduction pathways leading to regulation of a wide array of biological activities. One of these pathways, the Jak-Stat pathway, is briefly reviewed here with respect to the class II cytokine receptors. Signal transduction through receptors for interferons Type I (IFN-alpha, IFN-beta, IFN-omega) and Type II (IFN-gamma), and interleukin 10 (IL-10) is described in detail. In addition, a complex between tissue factor (TF) and coagulation factor VIIa, and two new receptors related to the class II cytokine receptor family are discussed. Oncogene (2000).