Janus kinases (Jaks) play an important role in signal transduction via cytokine receptors. Tyk2 is a Janus kinase, and we developed tyk2-deficient mice to study the requirement for tyk2 in vivo. Tyk2-deficient mice show no overt developmental abnormalities; however, they display a lack of responsiveness to a small amount of IFNalpha, although a high concentration of IFNalpha can fully transduce its signal even in the absence of tyk2. Furthermore, IL-12-induced T cell function is defective in these mice. In contrast, these mice respond normally to IL-6 and IL-10, both of which activate tyk2 in vitro. These observations demonstrate that tyk2 plays only a restricted role in mediating IFNalpha-dependent signaling while being required in mediating IL-12-dependent biological responses.