IL-4 and IL-12 are cytokines that are important regulators of the proliferation, differentiation and functional capacity of lymphocytes. STATs (signal transducers and activators of transcription) are transcription factors that provide a direct link between the cytokine receptors and cytokine induced gene transcription. Stat6 and Stat4 are two STAT family members that specifically mediate signals that emanate from the IL-4 and IL-12 receptors, respectively. Recently a great deal of progress has been made in understanding the specific roles that Stat6 and Stat4 play in lymphocyte function through in vitro as well as in vivo studies using Stat6 and Stat4-deficient mice. This report will summarize and describe the recent advances made in understanding the activation and regulation of Stat6 and Stat4 as well as their roles in the development of an immune response. Oncogene (2000).